Toshiba predicts semiconductor shortages to continue

Toshiba

Supply issues for electronic components are likely to continue for another year, according to Toshiba, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine predicted to impact the shortage in chip making materials. 

“The sense of shortages hasn’t changed at all,” Toshiba head of devices Hiroyuki Sato told the Financial Review. “We expect the current tight supply will last until March next year.” 

As a major supplier of purified gases like neon and krypton – essential in semiconductor manufacturing – the Ukraine is responsible for nearly 70 per cent of the world’s neon gas, Trendforce data states. 

Toshiba’s devices division makes computer components including power-regulating chips. The company released a supply warning in September 2021 and Sato said the situation has not improved since then. 

He also said that prices are likely to keep increasing. 

“It’s been a year since prices of various inputs such as metals began rising, and we still can’t foresee when that trend will reverse,” Sato told the Financial Review. “We had to, and will need to, ask our customers to share the burden because no single company can absorb the whole impact anymore.” 

I-O Data Device, having raised prices on its LCD monitors last year, have stated they will soon do the same with its network attached storage products. Meanwhile, Sharp has said it was closely monitoring costs last month before deciding on prices for its new range of electronics. 

With plans to expand its semiconductor output to the financial year in 2022 from the first half of the financial year in 2023, Sato has said it will not be enough to overcome the chip shortage. Toshiba could increase its capital expenditure pace, where necessary. 

The Tokyo-based company has been through an unstable year, proposing to split into two companies to unlock value. This plan has been criticised by activist investors. Sato told the Financial Review that it would make his business unit more agile and less reliant on approvals from higher up the chain.