Hynix slips back into the red

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Hynix slips back into the red

Debt-laden South Korean chipmaker Hynix Semiconductor enjoyed only a short-lived flirtation with the world of profitability earlier this year.

The company, which experienced its first profitable quarter in more than a year during the first quarter of this year, slipped back into the red in the second quarter to end the first six months of the financial year with a consolidated net loss of 494 billion won (£270m).

The company blamed weak demand for dynamic RAM chips, its largest product, for the loss. During the period, it wrote off 332 billion won (£180m), comprising mainly interest expenses on more than 4 trillion won (£2.2bn) in loans and writedown in the value of inventory in the face of declining prices and demand.

Consolidated net sales during the half were 1.6 trillion won (£870m), a fall of 21% from the same period a year earlier, while operating losses were 135 billion won (£73m). DRAM sales accounted for 79% of all sales with SRAM (static RAM) making up 4% and flash memory 1 percent.

The latest set of results demonstrates just how closely tied the health of Hynix is tied to the volatile and highly competitive DRAM market. In the first quarter if this year, the company reported a profit of 3 billion won (£1.6m) thanks to higher DRAM prices.

At the beginning of the year, the price for a 128Mbyte stick of PC133 DRAM was around $20 (£13), although this had climbed to around $33 (£22) near the end of the first quarter. By the end of the second quarter, it had dropped to only $17 (£11), according to market watchers ICIS-LOR.

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