This photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co. on March 30, 2021, shows the company's chip manufacturing plant in Texas. (Samsung Electronics Co.)
Samsung Electronics Co. said Thursday that a monthlong shutdown at its US semiconductor plant cost it more than 300 billion won ($270 million) in losses, although the facility is now fully normalized.
"There was a wafer production disruption due to the stopping and recovering of the fab," Han Seung-hoon, a senior vice president at Samsung's foundry business, said in a conference call. "About 71,000 wafers were affected, and this corresponds to around 300 to 400 billion won in damage."
A major snow storm and a cold wave in Texas on Feb. 6 caused power and water outages, forcing the world's largest memory chipmaker to shut down its chip plant. It was the first time in Samsung's history that a chip plant halted production for a month.
Samsung's Austin plant, also known as Line S2, manufactures products like radio frequency integrated circuits (RFIC), display driver integrated (DDI) circuits, solid state drive controllers, image sensors and other microprocessors using nodes from 14 nanometers to 65 nanometers.
"The power and water outage were preannounced, so we did have time to prepare," Han said. "I think we were able to bring the operation back to normalization earlier than we expected."
Han said the Texas plant was able to achieve a some 90 percent level of operating rate as of March 31 and currently the facility is in full operation.
To prevent such an incident from happening again, Han said Samsung is in talks with state officials and local utility companies to find solutions.
With its Austin factory back online, Samsung said the company will give its best effort to maximize capacity to tackle a global chip supply shortage.
"The company will prepare to expand the supply in the second half of the year through the start of mass production at the Pyeongtaek Line 2 (in South Korea)," Samsung said. "In the second half, growth in the foundry market is expected to exceed previous projections due to the acceleration of 5G penetration, a resumption of corporate IT investments and growing demand from customers securing safety stock."
Samsung, the world's No. 2 foundry firm, also vowed to bolster its technological leadership, saying it has started the development of the 2nd generation 3-nanometer process. (Yonhap)