PTI readies measures against SK Hynix-Intel NAND buyout deal

Julian Ho, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0

PTI chairman DK Tsai. Credit: DIGITIMES

Memory and logic IC backend house Powertech Technology (PTI) expects its revenue performance to stay on the growth track in the fourth quarter of 2021 after posting record sales results for the first three quarters of the year, and is upbeat about its business prospects next year.

PTI has reported its third-quarter revenues grew 8.24% sequentially to a record quarterly high of NT$22.32 billion (US$802.87 million), and its combined January-September sales rose 7.37% on year reaching NT$61.37 billion, also a new high for the period.

As a backend partner for Intel's NAND memory chips, PTI has readied effective countermeasures to minimize possible impacts of SK Hynix's upcoming acquisition of the US vendor's NAND memory and storage business unit, according to PTI chairman DK Tsai.

Tsai said at a recent investors conference that SK Hynix plans to turn Intel's NAND memory and storage unit into a stand-alone US company to be owned by the Korean chipmaker after the acquisition deal is completed by 2025, and therefore PTI's partnership with Intel will remain unchanged in the next 2-3 years.

As memory chips manufactured by Intel require extremely different packaging technology from those fabricated by SK Hynix, the South Korean vendor will have to spend heavily if it wants to build its own in-house packaging plant for Intel NAND chips, Tsai said. Accordingly, allowing PTI to continue offering contract backend services for such chips would be the best option for SK Hynix after completing the acquisition, Tsai continued.

To brace for the worst-case scenario, however, PTI will first of all manage to maintain close partnerships with Intel, seeking to expand its packaging and testing services to other product lines of the US chipmaker, Tsai stressed.

Tsai also noted that PTI will continue strengthening its deployments in logic IC backend businesses, disclosing that many logic chip solutions developed by heavyweight clients worldwide in cooperation with PTI will kick off commercial production in 2023-2024.

PTI is also set to start volume production of CMOS sensors (CIS) with TSV (through silicon via) technology for automotive and industry-control applications in the first or second quarter of 2022, and will also move its FOPLP (fan-out panel level packaging) technology to mass production by the end of next year, according to Tsai.

Meanwhile, as PTI's seven-year deal with Micron Technology for offering packaging services for the US chipmaker through their joint-venture plant in Xi'an, China will expire in April 2022, both sides have been in talks to work out a win-win solution that will minimize impacts on either party, Tsai said.

Tsai did not unveil possible conclusions of the talks, citing confidentiality. But he stressed that whatever conclusions may come out, Micron will remain a strategic partner of PTI.