Gartner: Infineon's DRAM unit makes big Q1 gains

Infineon 's DRAM business, dubbed Qimonda, leaped to second place in global DRAM rankings during the second quarter, Gartner Dataquest said Monday.

Infineon Technologies might have just gotten its biggest boost for its proposed public stock offering of DRAM (dynamic-RAM)) spin-off Qimonda, moving up to second place in global revenue for DRAM during the first quarter, market researcher Gartner Dataquest said Monday.

The company's sales soared nearly 45 percent quarter-on-quarter to help it leap up from its fourth place perch in the fourth quarter, leaving it behind only industry leader Samsung Electronics Co.

Qimonda took 16.6 percent of global DRAM revenue in the first three months of this year, Gartner said, mainly as it unloaded inventory and garnered better prices due to a rise in DDR2 (double data rate, second generation) chip prices. Samsung kept its lead with a 27.7 percent share of the DRAM market.

"This was well-timed for Qimonda, which becomes a separate legal entity on 1 May 2006," Gartner said in the report. The company's parent, Infineon, is considering selling Qimonda through a stock offering. Micron Technology, which is based in the U.S., may also be interested in the DRAM business, according to a Wall Street Journal news report.

Focusing on NAND flash memory chips, which are used to save data in various consumer electronics devices, from digital cameras and iPod music players, to mobile phones, knocked Hynix Semiconductor Inc. out of second place to third, Gartner said, and sent Micron down to fourth place, from third place during the previous quarter.

Hynix grabbed 14.5 percent of global DRAM revenue during the first quarter, while Micron took 14.1 percent, according to Gartner.

Japan's Elpida Memory rounded out the top five by increasing its sales by 31 percent during the first quarter, compared to the fourth quarter of last year. The company took a 9.3 percent share of the global DRAM market, Gartner said.

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