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Crisis at Japan's last PC chipmaker

Monday, February 27, 2012 - 01:42

Feb.27 - Japan's Elpida Memory says it has filed for protection from creditors with 5.55 billion dollars in debt, the biggest bankruptcy filing by a Japanese manufacturer. Ciara Sutton reports

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It once dominated the world of PC memory chips, but Japan's days in the business could soon be numbered. Its sole maker of "dynamic random-access memory" chips has filed for bankruptcy. Elpida Memory is struggling with nearly five and a half billion dollars of debt, making it the biggest bankruptcy filing by a Japanese manufacturer. The chip maker has been crippled by the success of Apple's iPad which is much less reliant on DRAM chips. It has also struggled to keep up with South Korean rivals Samsung. And president of Elpida, Yukio Sakamoto, says a strong yen has dampened global competitiveness. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) PRESIDENT OF ELPIDA MEMORY INC., YUKIO SAKAMOTO, SAYING: "I've never imagined that the yen would surge this high, though I admit it was one of my mistakes in management." The company had been hoping to find potential partners, but nothing came. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) PRESIDENT OF ELPIDA MEMORY INC., YUKIO SAKAMOTO, SAYING: "We've been waiting for offers until the last minute, but most of them were not concrete commitments, just mere intentions." The Tokyo Stock Exchange says shares in Elpida Memory will be delisted at the end of March. But Japan's Trade Minister Yukio Edano says he hopes domestic production can be continued. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE ECONOMY, TRADE AND INDUSTRY MINISTER, YUKIO EDANO, SAYING: "I hope Elpida Memory's rehabilitation process moves in way that its domestic production operations can be maintained." The company has just two months to find more than a billion dollars to repay bonds and loans. It also owes the government almost 500 million dollars. Ciara Sutton, Reuters

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Crisis at Japan's last PC chipmaker

Monday, February 27, 2012 - 01:42