Hitachi Ltd. has sold its entire 4.7 percent stake in Elpida Memory Inc., whose stock will be delisted in less than a month after it filed for bankruptcy last week, spokesman Yuichi Izumisawa said Tuesday.
Hitachi finished dumping the last of its 12.8 million shares in Tokyo-based Elpida on Monday, Izumisawa said. Hitachi, the largest shareholder in the chip-maker according to data compiled by Bloomberg, held the stake for its retirement benefits trust, according to a regulatory filing.
Elpida lost money for five straight quarters and sought protection from creditors at the Tokyo District Court on Feb. 27 with liabilities of ¥448 billion.
The troubles at the chip-maker, formed through the 1999 merger of Hitachi and NEC Corp.’s memory businesses, were exacerbated by an 85 percent slump in the price of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips and the sky-high yen that cut into overseas profits. The Tokyo Stock Exchange will delist Elpida on March 28.
Hitachi transferred its Elpida stake to its pension trust in March 2008. Izumisawa declined to provide further details, such as the price at which Hitachi sold its Elpida shares, saying the company doesn’t comment on the trading of individual stocks in the trust.
Prices of DRAM, the most common chip in desktop computers, plunged last year after PC shipments missed analyst forecasts and sales of mobile devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPad surged.
The price of the benchmark DDR3 2-gigabit DRAM declined to a record low of 71 cents in November, compared with $4.85 on Sept. 1, 2010, amid slowing PC sales, according to Taipei-based DRAMeXchange, Asia’s biggest spot market for the chips.
Semiconductor maker Elpida Memory Inc. estimates its cash and deposits will plunge to ¥2.2 billion by the end of August from ¥34.3 billion at the end of February on cash-flow deterioration after its filing for bankruptcy protection last week, according to a report filed with a Tokyo court made available Monday.
After temporarily rising to ¥38.5 billion at the end of March, its cash and deposits are expected to decline from April as the company makes payments for procuring raw materials and labor costs to continue semiconductor production, the company’s report says.
The cash and deposit fall is expected to prompt Elpida to select its rehabilitation sponsor and submit its rehabilitation plan to the Tokyo District Court earlier than the presently planned July.
Candidates for the supporter role include Nanya Technology Corp. of Taiwan and Toshiba Corp., as well as Micron Technology Inc. of the U.S., with which Elpida had negotiated a capital and business alliance before filing for bankruptcy protection with the court on Feb. 27.
Elpida is pursuing a debtor-in-possession rehabilitation procedure allowing its present directors, including company President Yukio Sakamoto, to retain control instead of resigning.