Toshiba, SanDisk seal flash fab JV; reports suggest Fab 5 on the map

July 13, 2006 – Months after agreeing to build a new fab for producing NAND flash memory, Toshiba and SanDisk have officially laid out plans for the new venture, dubbed Flash Alliance Ltd.: a massive 100,000 wafer/month facility, with investments expected to top $3.0 billion through the end of 2008.

The JV, owned 49.9% by SanDisk and 50.1% by Toshiba, will oversee construction of the new Fab 4 facility, located in Yokkaichi, Japan, site of the companies’ existing FlashVision and Flash Partners ventures. Toshiba will front costs to build the new fab, with both parties equally sharing costs for purchasing equipment, as well as startup costs and initial design/development of process technologies. Initial NAND production is scheduled to start at the end of 2007, starting at 67,500 wafers/month.

The two companies already operate a 200mm NAND wafer fab at Yokkaichi, and in 2004 agreed to add a new 300mm NAND fab there as well.

Meanwhile, Japanese press reports are suggesting that Toshiba and SanDisk are planning to build a fifth plant, a massive $5.2 billion NAND flash fab, in Iwate prefecture in northern Japan, with operations to begin in the spring of 2008, also with full capacity of 100,000 wafers/month. The Asahi and Sankei daily papers reported that like Fab 4, Toshiba will absorb the costs to build the facility, with both companies sharing investments for equipment and development. In a statement, Toshiba denied a decision has been made on the fab’s location. “At the moment, the details of the plan, including candidate sites, are still under consideration and yet to be determined,” the company said, in a statement.


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