DRAM Maker Elpida Forecasts Big Full Year Loss

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Japan's Elpida Memory made a massive loss in the year to March 31 due to falling DRAM prices, according to preliminary figures published Monday.

The company's net loss in the year to March 31 ballooned to ¥180 billion (US$1.85 billion) from a ¥23.5 billion loss a year earlier, Elpida said Monday. The results are preliminary and the company will publish formal full year and fourth quarter earnings on May 12.

The global DRAM industry has suffered from chip price declines that started nearly two years ago. Prices continued to fall earlier this year, bottoming in February.

"In addition to excess supply conditions that have persisted since early 2007, prices have been affected by weaker demand brought on by the rapid global economic slowdown that followed the Lehman shock," Elpida said.

The company expects to report full year sales of ¥330 billion, down 19 percent from a year ago.

The company, one of the world's biggest DRAM makers, said this year the DRAM market could improve. A number of companies have curtailed production, setting the stage for prices to recover, Elpida said.

Two memory chip makers have already filed for bankruptcy this year. Germany's Qimonda filed in January, while Spansion filed in March.

Elpida was tapped as the technology partner for Taiwan Memory Company (TMC), a government formed company meant to lead consolidation among Taiwan's heavily indebted DRAM makers.

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