Elpida says may raise DRAM prices in March

TAIPEI Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:38am EST

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TAIPEI (Reuters) - Japanese PC chip maker Elpida Memory Inc is considering raising DRAM prices in March as demand grows, its president said on Thursday, and reiterated his hope to combine with Taiwanese companies.

Speaking at a media conference on Thursday, President and Chief Executive Yukio Sakamoto gave as an example a projected price for 2-gigabyte dynamic random access memory chips (DRAM) at $2.30-2.50 in March from the current $2.10. That would be an up to 19 percent increase.

He did not give further details.

"OEM companies place orders at the end of month and we are seeing our clients doing that," he said.

Two weeks ago, Sakamoto said he expected demand to exceed supply by the second quarter as client inventories dropped and they started placing new orders.

Sakamoto also said Elpida still hoped to merge with Taiwan's Powerchip Technology Corp, Rexchip Electronics Corp and ProMOS Technologies Inc. If successful, he said, the new alliance would account for a 40-50 percent share of the market global for mobile DRAM.

"I want to have an alliance as soon as possible," Sakamoto said. He previously outlined a vision for a joint Taiwan-Japan chip alliance to better combat the power of top two makers Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Hynix Semiconductor Inc of South Korea.

Rexchip, a joint venture between Elpida and long-term Taiwanese partner Powerchip, would start production in the third quarter, Sakamoto said.

Elpida this month announced plans to buy the entire DRAM output of Powerchip to bolster its competitiveness and help it focus on higher-end chip production.

Taiwan depositary receipts of Elpida, the world's No.3 DRAM maker after Samsung and Hynix, will start trading in Taiwan on Friday. The offer price was set in the middle of the guidance range at T$21.3 per unit, allowing the company to raise about T$4.26 billion ($145 million).

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Jonathan Standing and Chris Lewis)

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