Micron's CEO says the glass is half full

Micron’s new CEO Mark Durcan was in the hot seat yesterday as he had to explain his company’s flat financial results.

He started off by praising his outfit’s relations with Intel, which he said was a significant piece of Micron’s business and something he has been working on to rejuvenate.

Micron bought Intel’s share of the output from the jointly-owned NAND operations in both Manassas, Virginia, and IMFS Singapore.

This meant that Micron would buy the production capacity of 30,000 wafers per month, and Micron will sell a portion of those wafers back to Intel under a for-profit take-or-pay supply agreement.

Durcan said that incremental profit along with the completion of the initial ramp of the new fab in Singapore will lead to structural margin improvement.

Micron has extended the life of the Micron / Intel facility in Utah until 2024. And the scope of the two’s technology relationship was expanded to include certain memory technologies beyond the floating gate and NAND products they had historically been working on.

While sales had been flat, things were good on the technology development side.

Micron had built its R&D cleanroom in Boise, Idaho, and began installing tools there to support NAND, DRAM, NOR and phase-change memory nodes as well as emerging memory technologies.

Durcan said that the company was making good progress on its next two NAND technology nodes in the development fab, and on its 20-nanometer DRAM node.

“We also made progress scaling up to 300-millimeter substrates on our 45-nanometer NOR process and in developing a new 300-millimeter phase-change memory process. Moving forward, we look to deploy both of these new 300-millimeter NOR and phase-change processes in the manufacturing fabs over the next year,” he said.

In manufacturing, there were some good figures relative to production ramp and yield execution. Listing all his production achievements, he said there were more than 70,000 wafers per month made in Singapore, the 30-nanometer DRAM node was introduced and Inotera managed to ramp up early. There was a good early 30-nanometer yield out of the DRAM fab in Singapore, Durcan said.

He added that Micron could now ship 20-nanometer NAND out of all three Micron NAND fabs, the two wholly owned ones as well as the joint fab in Lehigh.

All that would be great if the company had not posted a net loss of $224 million on net sales of $2,067,000,000 and seen sales in the second quarter relatively flat.

Some of this was seasonal, like the demand for wireless NOR products, but that did not cover the overall bleak picture.