Micron Posts 4th Straight Loss As Memory-ChipMicron Technology Inc.Fall the largest Prices (MU),U.S. maker of computer memory, reported afourth consecutive quarterly loss afterprices fell for chips used to store data inphones and tablets, crimping sales.
The net loss was $320 million, or 32 cents ashare, for the third quarter ended May 31,compared with profit of $75 million, or 7cents, a year earlier, the Boise, Idaho-basedcompany said yesterday in a statement.Sales rose 1.5 percent to $2.17 billion.Analysts projected a loss of 20 cents onrevenue of $1.99 billion, the average ofestimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Makers of smartphones and other mobiledevices haven’t equipped their productswith as much memory as had beenpredicted, nor are computer manufacturersturning to chips for main storage at ratesthat were forecast, according to a reportthis week by Doug Freedman, an analystat RBC Capital Markets in San Francisco.The result has been a glut in the productcategory called Nand flash memory.
Prices may begin to increase this month orin July as the result of demand for chips fornew models of devices, Freedman wrote. Herates Micron outperform, the equivalent of abuy recommendation.“We see reason to be optimistic,” MicronPresident Mark Adams said in a telephoneinterview. “Pricing isn’t in a great place, butit’s an improved and more stableenvironment.”
Micron shares fell 7.8 percent to $5.65 at theclose in New York. The stock has lost 10percent this year.
Japan’s ElpidaThe company said in May it was in talks tobuy a Japanese competitor, Elpida MemoryInc., to gain more control of industry outputbecause periods of oversupply make itdifficult for Micron to deliver profits. Elpida,the last Japanese maker of computer-memory chips, sought bankruptcyprotection in February after losses left itunable to pay debts.
“We don’t feel that it’s a deal where we areup against the wall and have to do it at allcosts,” said Micron’s Adams. “Micron hasalways been very sensitive to balance-sheetpreservation and we’ll continue with thatgoal in mind.”
Acquiring Elpida would double Micron’sshare of the global market for dynamicrandom-access memory, the most widelyused memory chips in personal computers,to about 24 percent, helping it competeagainst industry leader SamsungElectronics Co. An acquisition of Elpida,which has three factories, would giveMicron access to customers it currentlydoesn’t supply, executives of the U.S.company said yesterday.
Micron Chief Executive Officer Mark Durcantold analysts yesterday that the companywill only go ahead with a purchase if itdoesn’t involve diluting stock or taking ontoo much interest-bearing debt.
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