Toshiba to Invest $3.2 Billion on 3D Flash Memory Chip Factory

  • New plant will focus on next-generation memory technology
  • First production expected to come no earlier than 2018

Toshiba Corp. is investing 360 billion yen ($3.2 billion) on a new factory for flash memory chips even as it deals with a record annual loss and other fallout from an accounting scandal.

The company is investing in the plant, which will make its proprietary 3D flash chips, over a period of three years till March 2019, it said in a statement Thursday. Toshiba expects output to begin no earlier than 2018.

Revelations over the summer that management was complicit in padding profits over almost seven years triggered an avalanche of writedowns and job cuts, and the company is now considering asset sales to stem losses. Toshiba is under investigation by the U.S. over losses at its nuclear power operations, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Toshiba is tightening its focus on semiconductors after announcing plans to sell its medical operation to Canon Inc. Toshiba Chief Executive Officer Masashi Muromachi has said the company is also considering a spinoff of its appliances and PC businesses.

Annual capital spending on Toshiba’s semiconductor and storage operations, which include hard drives, amounted to about 200 billion yen over the past three fiscal years, according Yukihito Uchida, a spokesman for the company. It maintains a flash memory partnership with SanDisk Corp. and is in talks with the U.S.-based company about investments in 3D flash, Uchida said.

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