December 26, 2014 / 9:55 AM / 4 years ago

Toshiba CEO says will consider overseas locations for chip plant

The logo of Toshiba Corp is seen at an electronics store in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, June 25, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toshiba Corp will decide during the next business year from April on where to build an additional memory chip plant and will consider overseas locations for the facility, Chief Executive Hisao Tanaka said on Friday.

Less than four months after opening a NAND flash memory chip fabrication plant in Yokkaichi, western Japan, Tanaka told Reuters in an interview that demand is outstripping capacity and the Japanese conglomerate must expand production.

NAND memory chips are used in smartphones and other electronic devices.

“Samsung already has a factory in China, in Xian, and Hynix has one, too,” Tanaka said.

Pressed on whether China would be the best overseas location, he added: “But Samsung has a plant in the United States, as well.”

Toshiba will aim to begin production at the new facility around 2017, he said, adding that domestic locations would also be an option.

For the company’s nuclear power plant business, Tanaka said India could be an option if he could be convinced of the workability of a proposed insurance pool backed by the government to indemnify global nuclear suppliers against liability in the case of a nuclear accident.

The company’s healthcare department aims to reach the 1 trillion yen ($8.3 billion) milestone in revenue in 2017 partly through acquisitions, although M&A on the scale of hundreds of billions of yen would be necessary to achieve that goal, Tanaka said.

“Our strong suits are diagnostics, treatment, and such, but (M&A deals) would most likely be in MRIs and CT scans, or the area of disease prevention.”

Reporting by Reiji Murai and Teppei Kasai; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Edmund Klamann

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