UPDATE 3-SanDisk offers quarterly outlook near expectations

Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:51pm EDT

* Q3 adjusted EPS $1.20, above Street

* Q4 rev forecast $1.5 bln to $1.6 bln

* Shares up after hours

By Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Flash memory chip supplier SanDisk forecast current-quarter revenue near analysts' expectations and said it was benefiting from robust growth in tablets and smartphones.

Demand for flash memory is widely expected to surge in the coming years, fueled by the rise of smartphones and tablets such as Apple's iPad.

"The mobile market continues to experience robust growth in feature phones, smartphones, tablets and e-readers," Chief Executive Sanjay Mehrotra told analysts on a conference call.

He said SanDisk's solid-state drive business was growing fast and would account for a quarter of sales within a few years.

In a bid to expand into the fast-growing and high-margin business of selling sophisticated flash storage for enterprise customers, SanDisk this year bought solid-state drive maker Pliant Technology for $237 million.

SanDisk reported revenue of $1.42 billion for its third quarter, ended Oct. 2, up 15 percent and matching expectations of $1.42 billion, according to ThomsonReuters I/B/E/S.

The company said revenue in the current quarter would be between $1.5 billion and $1.6 billion. Analysts on average expect $1.58 billion.

SanDisk reported that adjusted earnings for the past quarter fell to $292 million, or $1.20 a share, from $311 million, or $1.30 a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts on average expected $1.07.

Shares of the Milpitas, California company rose 2 percent following the earnings report, after closing 0.7 percent higher at $45.50 on the Nasdaq.

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