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(LEAD) SK hynix to focus on improving profitability in NAND biz: CEO

All News 18:21 March 30, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS more info in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- SK hynix Inc. will focus on improving profitability of its NAND business following its deal to buy Intel Corp.'s non-volatile memory unit, its chief executive officer said Tuesday.

Lee Seok-hee told shareholders that SK hynix is committed to becoming the global leader in the NAND industry with the acquisition of Intel's NAND business and its 2018 investment in Japan's Kioxia Corp.

Last October, SK hynix, also the world's No. 2 DRAM maker, signed an agreement to buy Intel's non-volatile memory unit for US$9 billion, which includes the U.S. firm's solid state drive (SSD) business and a NAND flash chip plant in Dalian, China.

"SK hynix has strength in mobile NAND, while Intel's forte is in the enterprise SSD sector, so we can create and maximize the synergy," Lee said at the company's annual shareholders meeting at its headquarters in Icheon, south of Seoul.

In this photo provided by SK hynix Inc. on March 30, 2021, SK hynix CEO Lee Seok-hee speaks to shareholders at the company's shareholders meeting in Icheon, south of Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The acquisition of Intel's NAND unit will make SK hynix the world's second-largest NAND supplier.

As of the fourth quarter of 2020, SK hynix ranked fourth in the NAND market with a revenue share of 11.6 percent, while Intel took the sixth spot with 8.9 percent, according to data from market researcher TrendForce.

Samsung Electronics Co. topped the ranking with 32.9 percent, followed by Kioxia with 19.5 percent.

"We are thinking of a plan on building R&D infrastructure across various regions including the United States and Europe," Lee said. "We will also find promising companies in the sectors like artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous driving and 5G to make investments."

Meanwhile, SK hynix said its board has appointed Vice Chairman Park Jung-ho as co-CEO of the company following its meeting.

Park, who also heads the country's top mobile carrier, SK Telecom Co., will be in charge of building the corporate culture and exploring new growth opportunities, according to SK hynix, while its current CEO Lee will be responsible for development and operation of the firm.

With Park's appointment, SK hynix said Ha Yung-ku, who previously served as CEO of Citibank Korea Inc., will serve as the chair of the board.


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