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Banks want higher price for Hynix.

Byline: From Register-Guard and wire service reports

The fate of Hynix Semiconductor Inc.'s memory-chip plants, including the west Eugene factory, appears to hinge on about $1 billion.

Hynix's creditor banks in South Korea want Boise-based Micron Technology Inc. to pay more than $4 billion for the Eugene factory and Hynix's six memory-chip plants in Korea, Seoul Economic Daily reported Wednesday.

Micron has offered only $3.2 billion for the seven plants, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified official at Hynix's creditor-appointed restructuring committee.

Executives from Hynix are in the United States for a fourth round of talks with Micron.

An official from Korean Exchange Bank, one of Hynix's largest creditors, is participating in the negotiations to ensure that creditors' opinions are conveyed because Hynix officials don't agree with creditors' demands, the newspaper report said.

Hynix is struggling under $6.6 billion in debt owed to creditor banks. Hynix has been rapidly selling assets to help pay down the debt. Hynix's key remaining assets are the seven memory-chip plants, plus six non-memory chip plants in Korea.

The higher the sales price Hynix is able to get for the seven memory-chip plants, the faster it will be able to pay off creditor banks, and the less Hynix debt those banks will have to write off.

Micron, meanwhile, has been pushing to get the Hynix plants for as low a price as possible. Micron started out in mid-January by offering just $2 billion, according to Korean news reports.

Since then, computer chip prices have spiked upward, making the plants worth more and giving Hynix and its creditors leverage to demand a higher price.

At the Eugene plant, Hynix has just completed a $120 million upgrade of equipment in order to produce state-of-the-art 256-megabit dynamic random access memory chips. Hynix won't disclose how many employees it now has at the plant. The company is asking the Eugene City Council to waive property taxes on the new equipment for up to five years, a request the council is slated to consider on Jan. 30.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 24, 2002
Words:340
Previous Article:Business Beat.
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