Analyst: 2H09 recovery for DRAM…maybe


2008 was a big game of “chicken” in the DRAM sector, as firms floored their investment and output pedals in 2008 hoping competitors would give up first. But all they did was make the bad times last longer, according to a summary from iSuppli.

Global DRAM market revenue and growth estimates. (Source: iSuppli)
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Global revenue fell by nearly 20% in 2008 to $25.2B, following a 7% slide in 2007—and the market lost a third of its value over two years. But the steep dropoff “won’t mark an end to the memory sinkhole,” notes analyst Nam Hyung Kim, who projects a 4% decline in 2009 as well, citing “global economic uncertainty.” The top eight DRAM suppliers have lost nearly $8B over the past two years, and will tally $11B in operating losses by the end of 2009.

Suppliers’ rapid reduction in capacity growth should help the industry find a bottom and start to recover by 2H09, as prices stabilize and suppliers’ losses slowly shrink. Look for two years of growth in the teens in 2010–2011, before the next downswing.


ASM International and SAFC Hitech have signed a partnership targeting atomic layer deposition (ALD) source materials for advanced ultrahigh–k (ULK) insulators targeting the 3x manufacturing node.

Rohm & Haas and IBM have agreed to jointly evaluate photoresists and supporting ancillaries and low–temperature photodielectric materials for IBM’s 3D packaging technologies, and also develop new materials for wafer–level and capillary underfill applications.

EV Group and Brewer Science have established an ultrathin wafer bonding lab in Taiwan to offer localized support in the Asia–Pacific region for 3D IC and other advanced process development programs.

Air Products and Showa Denko are building a new site in Kawasaki, Japan, to supply etch/clean gases such as tetrafluoromethane (CF4) and hexafluoroethane (C2F6).


EUV/DUV light source developer Energetiq has raised unspecified additional capital in a Series C round of financing, with participation from Ushio and Intel Capital.

Hemlock Semiconductor will invest up to $3.0B to expand polycrystalline silicon production with facility expansion in Michigan and a new site in Tennessee.

Cadence Design Systems has appointed Lip–Bu Tan, board member since 2004 and chairman of VC firm Walden International, as its new president/CEO.


SMIC reportedly is mulling selling a stake to chip giant Intel, which could include cooperation in Intel’s 300mm plant in Dalian, China though Intel is denying the rumors.

After initial rebuffs from key shareholders, Panasonic’s sweetened offer for Sanyo was accepted—for an extra ¥1 per share.

Shin–Etsu has developed a thermally conductive phase–change material that’s easier to bond to substrates.

JSR has developed two new insulating materials for chips, one that eliminates the need for photoresist and the other targeting the 32nm node.

The Taiwan High Court has found two former top UMC execs not guilty in alleged illegal funding of Chinese chip company He Jian Technology, following similar rulings from lower courts.


Half a million jobs are at risk with the decline in the region’s chip industry, according to SEMI Europe, which is appealing to EU and national policymakers for new investments.

E–beam litho tool supplier Vistec, semiconductor research group CEA/Leti, and DFM company D2S are collaborating on refining and validating advanced design–for–e–beam technology for the 45nm and 32nm nodes.

ASMI is transferring the remaining operations of its vertical furnace product line from Almere, The Netherlands, to Singapore.

NXP CEO Frans van Houten has unexpectedly resigned, replaced by supervisory board member Richard Clemmer.