Renesas, Fujitsu, Panasonic Rise on Chip Report: Tokyo Mover

Renesas, Fujitsu, Panasonic Rise on Chip Report
Employees work in a clean room on the production line for 300mm wafers at Renesas Electronics Corp.'s Naka plant in Hitachinaka city, Ibaraki prefecture, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Renesas Electronics Corp. rose the most in more than two years in Tokyo trading after the Nikkei newspaper reported the company will merge its chip unit with those of Panasonic Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd.

Renesas climbed as much as 14 percent, the biggest intraday gain since Jan. 28, 2010, to 576 yen and traded 8.7 percent higher as of the 11:30 a.m. break in Tokyo. Fujitsu rose 3.7 percent while Panasonic advanced 2.2 percent.

The companies are in talks and may agree next month to merge their large-scale chip operations by March 2013, the Nikkei reported today, without citing anyone. Their collaboration would follow a reported alliance between Elpida Memory Inc. and Micron Technology Inc. as chipmakers seek to better compete amid a glut of semiconductors.

“Chipmakers may be seeking consolidation as they face a tough business environment,” said Yukihiko Shimada, a senior analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. in Tokyo. “Still, investors need to be careful whether such a plan will actually come through. We’ve seen a similar report in the past.”

Renesas, Fujitsu and Panasonic may spin off development divisions to form a new company, which would receive “several dozen billion yen” from the government-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, the Nikkei reported. Their manufacturing divisions would be merged into a venture between Innovation Network and Globalfoundries Inc., it said.

Nothing has been decided, Renesas, the biggest maker of microcontrollers used in cars and appliances, said in a statement. Tokyo-based Fujitsu is considering various options for its business and hasn’t reached any decision, the company said. Osaka-based Panasonic, Japan’s biggest maker of consumer electronics, said it isn’t the source of the Nikkei report.

Elpida, based in Tokyo, is seeking a capital alliance with Micron to expand its share in the market for dynamic random access memory chips, the Yomiuri newspaper reported Jan. 18.