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Investment bank Needham & Co. predicted in a note sent to clients on Monday that Infineon Technologies AG based in Munich, Germany, has plans to sell its memory business to Micron Technology of the U.S. and Nanya of Taiwan. According to the report, even Infineon’s fabrication plant is expected to be sold.

Needham & Co. said Micron would buy Infineon’s U.S. memory assets and Nanya, Taiwan’s second-largest memory chip maker, would buy its non-U.S. memory assets, including Infineon’s flagship plant in the German city of Dresden, Reuters reports. Neither of the companies confirmed nor denied the information, but if such plans come true, there will be a significant change with the alignment of forces in the market of dynamic random access memory (DRAM).

According to Gartner Dataquest research firm, Infineon commanded 13.5% of total DRAM market in Q3 2005 and posted approximately 13% revenue gain by its memory business. If Micron and Nanya acquire DRAM unit of Infineon, those 13.5% market share will be split between Micron, Nanya as well as outsourcing partners of Infineon – SMIC and Winbond who may resell the production to other companies. Given that both SMIC and Winbond use Infineon’s process technology, both may be obliged to sell their DRAM output to Micron and Nanya. This will help Micron to grab the world’s second largest memory market share with over 20% of shipments and will allow Nanya to become the fourth largest DRAM maker with more than 10% of the market, at least.

Memory unit accounts for approximately 40% of Infineon’s revenues. In the Q3 of fiscal 2005 the maker said its memory products posted sales growth, whereas products for communication, automotive, industrial and some other markets posted decline. Infineon’s revenues were about $1.876 billion (?1.61 billion), whereas net loss was $279.55 million (?240 million) in the quarter.

The decision is expected to be made at the meeting of Infineon’s board of directors on Thursday, the 17th of November, 2005. However, the final decision may be postponed by months.


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