Western Digital eases fears of fading chip boom

Western Digital Corp gave strong profit forecasts for the current quarter and the full year on Thursday and said the flash memory market would grow faster this year, easing investor jitters that the surging demand for memory chips was fading.

After a blistering year-and-a-half long surge, a sudden drop in some memory prices and Samsung Electronics' disappointing profit estimate earlier this month had unnerved investors who had bet the boom would last at least another year.

Western Digital chief financial officer Mark Long said any easing in price would help the industry. "The normalisation in flash market is about expected and beneficial for the industry, creating new opportunities for flash," he said on a conference call with analysts. "We view this normalisation as part of our business."

Western Digital forecast current quarter adjusted earnings of US$3.20 to US$3.30 per share, beating analysts' estimates of US$3.04, according to Thomson Reuters Institutional Brokers' Estimate System.

Its full-year adjusted earnings forecast of US$13.50 to US$14.00 per share was also above market estimates of US$13.42.

Mr Long estimated the flash industry's growth this year would be near the high end of the long-term range of 35 per cent to 45 per cent, due to better manufacturing yields and continued adoption of 3D flash, with Western Digital matching the growth.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2018, with the headline 'Western Digital eases fears of fading chip boom'. Print Edition | Subscribe