Toshiba says may invest up to $300 mln in NAND chipmaking

TOKYO, July 18 Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:30am EDT

TOKYO, July 18 (Reuters) - Toshiba Corp said on Thursday it is considering investing 20 billion to 30 billion yen ($200-300 million) on new equipment to manufacture NAND flash memory chips used in smartphones and other digital gadgets as demand rebounds.

Toshiba, Japan's largest chipmaker, said the investment was part of its move to cutting-edge chips with circuitry smaller than 19 nanometres and would increase its production capacity, although it declined to say by how much.

If the investment plan receives final approval, the new facilities would begin operation in mid-2014.

The investment would be separate from an announcement earlier this month of 30 billion yen in spending to expand the building that houses one of its NAND factories.

Toshiba competes in NAND production with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which on Thursday launched new storage technology using NAND chips that would replace computer hard disks.

It also competes with SanDisk Corp, which raised its full-year revenue forecast on Wednesday.

Toshiba's shares rose 2.3 percent on Thursday, compared with a 1.3 percent rise in Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei average.

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