AMD makes top 10 list of world’s biggest chip firms

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. have made it into the top ten ranking of semiconductor companies for the first time, according to preliminary forecasts for 2006 revenue from research company iSuppli Corp.

AMD was helped by strong growth in microprocessor sales, but its acquisition of ATI Technologies Inc. is the primary reason for its near doubling of sales in 2006, iSuppli said. Its revenue for the year is expected to reach US$7.5 billion, putting it in seventh place in the worldwide ranking. AMD would have made the top 10 in 2005, but spinning off its Spansion Inc. division that year pushed it down to fifteenth place.

For Hynix, strong sales of DRAM (dynamic RAM) and NAND flash memory chips lifted the company into eighth place for 2006, with expected revenue of $7.4 billion, up from $5.6 billion in 2005, iSuppli said.

Infineon Technologies Inc. and NEC Electronics Corp. both lost spots in the top ten. If Infineon hadn’t spun off Qimonda AG, it would have moved up from sixth place to fourth for the year. Instead, Infineon moved down to fourteenth place. NEC slipped from number eight to number 11, after a revenue decline of 0.2 per cent, iSuppli said.

Intel Corp. and Renesas Technology Corp. are the only other two companies in the top ten to see their revenue decline. Intel still holds on to the top spot, but declining sales of its microprocessors and NOR flash memory chips are expected to pull revenue down by 11.6 per cent for the year, iSuppli said. Intel’s divestiture of its XScale mobile phone chip business had only a minor affect on its revenue, iSuppli said.

The other seven companies in the top ten not only grew their revenue, but they beat the overall projected 9 percent growth rate for the industry. Texas Instruments Inc. is the standout in the top ten, with revenue for the year expected to grow 19.4 per cent.

iSuppli’s list predicted the year’s top 25 semiconductor makers. Beyond the top ten, Qualcomm Inc., Broadcom Corp., Elpida Memory Inc. and Spansion are all expected to report growth of more than 25 per cent for the year.

iSuppli estimates that overall semiconductor sales for 2006 will reach $258.5 billion, up from $237.3 billion last year.

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