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Toshiba to build new chip facility in northern Japan

Directors unable to make final decision on memory unit sale

Toshiba appears set to make Western Digital an exclusive negotiating partner for its flash memory unit.

TOKYO -- Toshiba, which ended the fiscal year through March 31 with shareholder equity at a negative 552.9 billion yen, has decided to build a new chip-making facility in northern Japan's Iwate Prefecture, the conglomerate announced on Wednesday. 

With demand for flash memory expected to rise, the Japanese concern that is struggling to maintain its listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange has been considering a new production base in addition to its existing factory in Yokkaichi, in central Japan. 

According to Toshiba, construction on the new plant is to begin next year. The company will also discuss with SanDisk, a Western Digital subsidiary with which Toshiba has a chip joint venture, whether it will take part in the investment. 

Meanwhile, the Toshiba board met on Wednesday morning to discuss on the sale of the company's flash memory business. Directors continued their discussion on selling the memory unit to a consortium involving Western Digital, the U.S. hard drive maker, but could not make a final decision. 

(NQN/Nikkei)

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