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Elpida declares first annual profit

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Elpida declared its first ever annual profit yesterday as it unveiled its fourth quarter results.

For the three months to 31 March 2005, Elpida recorded revenues of ¥50.73bn ($480m), up 57.5 per cent on the year-ago quarter's ¥30.21bn ($286m). Net income went the other way, falling from a ¥490m ($4.6m) profit to a loss of ¥1.68bn ($15.9m). Earnings fell from ¥7.58 (7c) a share to a loss of ¥17.37 (16c) a share.

For the year as a whole, the company said sales reached ¥207.03bn ($2bn), up more than 106 per cent from FY2004's ¥100.44bn ($951m). Annual net income came to ¥8.21bn ($78m), a big improvement on last year's ¥26.87bn ($254m) loss.

Both revenue and income totals were below the company's expectations: ¥211-214bn ($2-2.1bn) and ¥12-16bn ($113-151m), respectively.

Company president Yukio Sakamoto said the firm must continue to drive down costs, which will be a key element in its strategy for the coming year. In part, that will mean accelerating its adoption of 90nm fabrication technology, which in the case of 512Mb ECC DDR 2 chips, for example, will yield a 51 per cent cost saving over Elpida's current 110nm process, it said.

Elpida began punching out 90nm chips on 300mm wafers earlier this month. Volume production is slated for Q4, by which time it expects 90nm parts to account for 15 per cent of its output.

Elpida will invest ¥143.6bn ($1.4bn) in new plant this fiscal year, 19 per cent more than it did last year. Most of the money will be spent on a second 300mm wafer fab, using an 80nm process.

The upshot of all this activity, the company forecast, will be a 26 per cent increase in sales to ¥260bn ($2.5bn) for FY2006. The company also predicted operating profits for next year would jump 70 per cent to ¥14bn ($133m), with a positive net income. ®

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