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    A005930   KR7005930003

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD.

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South Korean chip firms to omit detailed data in response to U.S. request -sources

11/05/2021 | 05:38am EST
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Samsung is seen on a building during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

SEOUL, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix plan to leave out detailed information when supplying Washington with data related to the global chip shortage as they want to protect trade secrets, two sources briefed on the matter said.

The South Korean firms - the world's two biggest makers of memory chips - are among companies the U.S. government has asked to volunteer information so it can better understand the crisis that has led to a sharp curtailing of auto production. It has set a Nov. 8 deadline for submission of the information.

The Commerce Department has said, however, it may make answers compulsory depending on the number and quality of responses.

"The scope of the U.S. data request is such that if all the information it wants is leaked, it would undermine competition and make it really easy for a client to choose one chipmaker over another," said one of the sources, who was not authorised to speak on the matter and declined to be identified.

The issue has raised such concern in South Korea that Industry Minister Moon Sung-wook will discuss it with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo when they meet on his trip to Washington next week.

The request is comprised of 26 topics seeking data on inventories, orders and sales ranging from "everyday" information to questions on highly strategic areas such as capacity increase plans, the top three customers for each product and how much those three customers account for in terms of the product's sales, according to an industry ministry source.

A Commerce Department spokesperson told Reuters last month that SK Hynix has indicated it plans to be very forthcoming with data.

Both Samsung and SK Hynix have previously said they are reviewing the matter internally and did not have further comment on Friday.

Unlike made-to-order chip manufacturers, memory chipmakers stand to lose much more in terms of competitive advantages if information relating to inventories and pricing is leaked as "one design is used in a lot of devices", said one source.

The global chip shortage is predominantly one of made-to-order chips and there is sufficient supply of memory chips. Memory chips account for almost all of SK Hynix's semiconductor output. Samsung is the world's No. 2 contract chip manufacturer although it gains nearly all its chip earnings from memory chips.

Kim Young-woo, an analyst at SK Securities which is not affiliated with SK Hynix, said the South Korean firms were unlikely to disclose client information.

"Giving Chinese customer information to the U.S. raises concerns of geopolitical risks," he added.

Public records show that 13 entities have already submitted data to the Commerce Department including Taiwan's ASE Technology Holding and a unit of Israel's Tower Semiconductor .

ASE left most columns blank and attached a data sheet that was not accessible to the public, while Tower Semiconductor did not mention client names, only describing customer industries.

Taiwan's TSMC has said will not leak any sensitive company information in its response to the U.S. request.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee and Heekyong Yang; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ASE TECHNOLOGY HOLDING CO., LTD. 0.48% 105.5 End-of-day quote.-0.94%
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. 0.26% 76500 End-of-day quote.-2.30%
SK HYNIX INC. -1.57% 125000 End-of-day quote.-4.58%
TAIWAN SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING COMPANY LIMITED -0.46% 651 End-of-day quote.5.85%
TOWER SEMICONDUCTOR LTD. -3.98% 35.96 Delayed Quote.-9.38%
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Financials
Sales 2021 278 689 B 234 B 234 B
Net income 2021 39 330 B 33,0 B 33,0 B
Net cash 2021 108 525 B 90,9 B 90,9 B
P/E ratio 2021 12,8x
Yield 2021 1,89%
Capitalization 514 126 B 432 B 431 B
EV / Sales 2021 1,46x
EV / Sales 2022 1,26x
Nbr of Employees -
Free-Float 82,7%
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Number of Analysts 40
Last Close Price 76 500,00 KRW
Average target price 101 307,69 KRW
Spread / Average Target 32,4%
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Managers and Directors
Hyun-Suk Kim Co-President, Co-CEO & Director
Dongjin Koh Co-President, Co-CEO & Director
Kinam Kim President, Co-CEO & Director
Tae Moon Roh Co-President & Head-Research & Development
Hee-Chan Roh Chief Financial Officer
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