* Q3 operating loss 15 bln won vs 57 bln won loss f'cast
* Results bolster prospects for current quarter
* Mobile DRAM shipments better than expected
* DRAM chip selling price better than industry average
* Shares rise 4 pct vs 1 pct decline for broader market
(Adds comment from analyst, updates share reaction)
By Somang Yang and Miyoung Kim
SEOUL, Oct 24 South Korea's SK Hynix Inc
booked a smaller-than-expected quarterly operating
loss on a jump in demand for chips used in mobile devices like
Apple Inc's iPad and iPhone, sending its shares up 4
The results bode well for the current quarter, with analysts
expecting Hynix will return to profit as a host of new mobile
products hit the stores ahead of the year-end holiday season,
offsetting waning demand for PCs and traditional computer chips.
Those new devices will include Apple's iPad mini, a new
version of the iPad and Microsoft's new Windows-based
smartphones and tablets.
"The market didn't expect Hynix's product mix to have
changed this favourably," said Hwang Min-sung, an analyst at
"In light of this, the market will have to revise up its
predictions for fourth-quarter earnings."
The world's No.2 computer memory chipmaker posted an
operating loss of 15 billion won ($13.6 million) for the three
months ended September, compared with a consensus forecast for a
loss of 57 billion won from 15 analysts surveyed by Reuters.
Hynix, which competes with sector leader Samsung Electronics
and Japan's Elpida Memory Inc, had managed a profit
of 23 billion won in the previous quarter but that had followed
three quarters of losses.
BETTER SELLING PRICES
Mobile dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips now account
for more than 30 percent of its total DRAM revenue, up from
20-25 percent in the previous quarter.
And while many chipmakers have been hit hard by the consumer
shift away from personal computers to tablets, declines in
selling prices were not as sharp for Hynix.
Its average selling price for DRAM chips fell 8 percent in
latest quarter compared with an industry-wide level of 14
percent. DRAM chips account for around 70 percent of Hynix's
revenue while NAND flash memory chips account for around 25
Average selling prices for NAND chips rose 4 percent, while
shipments grew 5 percent.
Hynix may also benefit somewhat as Apple diversifies away
from Samsung, with which it has clashed over patents.
"Perhaps in NAND flash memory chips... Hynix will benefit
slightly from Apple moving away from Samsung as a supplier.
Apple is not the best customer to supply to, because they drive
a hard bargain with prices, but ultimately (tight) capacity will
drive prices," said Hwang.
Bolstered in part by hopes of better earnings from mobile
chips, Hynix shares have risen 15 percent over the past three
months, outpacing the broader market, which gained 7
percent. Its shares were 4 percent higher on Wednesday compared
with a 1 percent decline for the broader market.
($1 = 1103.1000 Korean won)
(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)