The top three South Korean memory makers are fighting off further attempts by their government to force them to exchange business units.
At the end of last week, President Kim managed to get Hyundai, Samsung and LG - plus two other conglomerates not involved in memory, Daewoo and SK - to sign a letter of intent agreeing to swap business units. This would lead to an overall reorganisation of Korean industry, with duplicated areas being cut down in order to boost efficiency in the wake of the south east Asian currency crisis.
Hyundai, Samsung and LG have been under pressure both internally and externally to include their memory operations in this process, as prices have slumped worldwide. President Kim has repeatedly asked them to come to some deal, as South Korea has come under attack from both US and European manufacturers for alleged dumping of Dram memory chips.
In September, the European Union is meeting to discuss whether or not to impose swingeing duties on the South Korean Dram manufacturers, following rumours of a complaint from Siemens, which shut down a memory fabrication plant in the UK earlier this month, with one senior executive blaming Korean dumping.
But now, according to the 'Korea Herald', the South Korean companies are likely to exchange only a handful of small business subsidiaries, rather than industries like memory, petrochemicals and the automotive industry, as Kim and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) want.
In response to a slight rise in sales of 64Mbit PC 100 memories over the summer, LG said at the beginning of August that it would ramp up, rather than decrease, production.
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