エルピーダ倒産―安易な救済への警鐘だ

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 29
EDITORIAL: Elpida’s bankruptcy is a warning against easy government bailouts
エルピーダ倒産―安易な救済への警鐘だ

Elpida Memory Inc., the world’s No. 3 maker of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips used to store data in personal computers and other devices, has filed for bankruptcy protection under the Corporate Rehabilitation Law.
 パソコンなどでデータを記憶する半導体DRAMで世界3位のエルピーダメモリが、会社更生法の適用を申請して倒産した。

Elpida’s collapse under the weight of 448 billion yen ($5.6 billion) in liabilities represents the largest-ever corporate bankruptcy in Japan’s manufacturing sector.
負債総額は4480億円。製造業では過去最大だ。

Elpida is Japan’s sole remaining maker of DRAMs, created by integrating the DRAM manufacturing operations of NEC Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.
 NECと日立製作所、三菱電機の事業を集約した日本で唯一のDRAMメーカーである。

Elpida received an injection of 30 billion yen in capital from the government-owned Development Bank of Japan in 2009 following the global economic downturn triggered by the fall 2008 collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers. The unusual bailout committed the government to absorb losses incurred by the company.
 リーマン・ショック後の09年には日本政策投資銀行から300億円の出資を仰ぎ、損失は政府が補填(ほてん)する異例の公的支援を受けていた。

Elpida’s downfall was caused by a confluence of factors, including the heavy blow delivered to its bottom line by the yen’s sharp appreciation and a slump in global personal computer sales due partly to the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
 急激な円高による採算悪化、欧州危機を一因とするパソコンの世界的な販売不振など、様々な要因が重なった。

The fundamental cause of Elpida’s predicament, however, concerned structural challenges posed by competition from South Korean and Taiwanese rivals, led by Samsung Electronics Co., which have expanded their shares in the global DRAM market in recent years.
しかし、根本には、サムスン電子をはじめとする韓国、台湾勢に市場を奪われる構造的な苦境がある。

In the 1980s, Japanese makers controlled 70 percent of the world DRAM market.
 DRAMでは、80年代に日本メーカーが世界市場の7割を占めた。

But the competitive landscape changed dramatically while Japanese chip makers were hamstrung by the export restrictions imposed on them as a result of a semiconductor trade dispute between Japan and the United States.
しかし、日米半導体摩擦に伴う輸出規制で日本勢が動きを封じられているうちに、様相は一変した。

Attaining leadership in the DRAM market requires continuing massive investments in technology and equipment.
 DRAM事業で主導権を握るには、巨額の投資を続けることが不可欠だ。

South Korea’s Samsung has various other businesses that support its great financial strength. Elpida, which is dedicated to the DRAM business, apparently fought against hopeless odds when it challenged Samsung’s market leadership.
サムスンはほかにも様々な事業を持ち、財務基盤が厚い。エルピーダがDRAM専業で対抗しようとしたことに無理があった。

Of the 30 billion yen of taxpayer money injected into Elpida, up to 28 billion yen may prove to be unrecoverable, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
 経済産業省によると、公的資金のうち最大で280億円が戻ってこない恐れがある。

For all its importance, the DRAM industry, unlike the financial and energy sectors, is not part of the social infrastructure that supports people’s everyday lives.
 DRAM事業が重要だとはいえ、金融やエネルギーなど、日々の生活を支える社会インフラではない。

A direct injection of public funds into an ordinary private-sector company is regarded as unacceptable, except in very special cases.
一般の事業会社に公的資金を直接投入することは、よほどのことがない限り禁じ手だ。

The industry ministry should engage in serious soul-searching about its misguided and failed efforts to save Elpida, which also set the stage for an insider trading scandal that led to the indictment of a senior official at the ministry.
エルピーダ再建にかかわるインサイダー取引事件で幹部職員が起訴されたことを含め、経産省は猛省すべきだ。

What is troubling is the fact that there are other cases of potentially excessive government involvement in private-sector business affairs.
 心配なのは、「官」が出過ぎているのでは、と思える事例がほかにもあることだ。

In the liquid-crystal display industry, which, like the semiconductor industry, is facing a harsh business environment, Toshiba Corp., Sony Corp. and Hitachi have agreed to set up a new company to integrate their operations to manufacture small- and medium-sized LCDs.
 半導体と同じく厳しい環境が続く液晶業界では、東芝とソニー、日立製作所が中小型液晶事業を統合して新会社を立ち上げる。

The deal was struck under the leadership of the Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), a government-backed investment fund set up to promote innovations. Most of the entity’s capital has been provided by the government, with the rest coming from private-sector companies.
音頭をとったのは、政府を中心に民間が一部出資する産業革新機構だ。

The INCJ will acquire a 70-percent stake in the new LCD company by purchasing 200 billion yen worth of its shares.
 機構は、新会社に2千億円を出資し、株式の7割を握るという。

While the market for small- and medium-sized LCDs is expected to grow, fierce price competition in the market means quick and flexible decision-making is essential for success. Will the government-led consolidation work?
中小型液晶は市場の拡大は期待できるが、価格競争が激しく、機敏な経営判断が欠かせない。官主導の再編でうまくいくだろうか。

During the era when Japan was pursuing a clear goal of catching up with Western industrial nations, the government was able to provide effective leadership for the growth of Japanese industries. But that era is long gone.
 欧米に追いつき、追い越すという明確な目標があり、政府が旗を振れた時代はとうに過ぎた。

Now, the private sector should be left to tackle the challenge of creating and nurturing new growth industries by using its own intellectual and other resources.
新産業をどう切り開いていくのかは、民間の知恵に任せるべきだろう。

The government’s role should be limited to supporting private-sector initiatives by improving the environment for corporate activities.
政府の役割は企業が活動しやすい環境を整え、後方支援に徹することだ。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2012-03-03 08:07 | 英字新聞

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