By Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO Dec 20 Micron Technology
posted a quarterly net loss and lower revenue as it struggled
with a slowing PC industry and macroeconomic uncertainty.
Consumers' growing preference for smartphones and tablets
instead of laptops has been hurting PC manufacturers, which
traditionally have been major buyers of DRAM chips made by
Micron and rivals like Samsung Electronics.
Global economic uncertainty has also held down prices for
chips, including the NAND memory, used by Apple and
other manufacturers of smartphones and tablets.
The Boise, Idaho-based memory chipmaker said fiscal
first-quarter revenue was $1.83 billion, down from $2.09 billion
in the year-ago period.
Analysts had expected revenue of $2.005 billion for the
quarter ended in November, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Micron said revenue from NAND chips was down 4 percent in
the first quarter, compared to the previous quarter, with higher
prices failing to make up for lower volume.
DRAM revenue was down 9 percent from the previous quarter
because of a 9 percent drop in prices.
Reacting to surging sales of Apple's iPads, iPhones and
other devices, chipmakers ramped up their NAND production
capacity, but a supply glut drove prices to new lows this year.
CEO Mark Durcan told analysts on a conference call that DRAM
prices have risen so far in the current quarter but warned that
it's too early to point to a trend.
"We're cautious in the short term, but optimistic about the
evolving industry supply-demand balance," Durcan said.
Low prices and steadily rising investment costs to implement
new technologies have been driving consolidation in the highly
competitive and cyclical memory chip industry.
In the industry's latest consolidation, Micron plans to buy
failed Japanese chipmaker Elpida Memory Inc for $2.5 billion,
including future payments to creditors, a deal it expects to
close in the first half of 2013, despite opposition from a group
of debt holders.
The acquisition would push Micron into second place behind
market leader Samsung in the global market for DRAM chips.
Micron posted a net loss of $275 million, or 27 cents a
share, compared to a net loss of $187 million, or 19 cents, in
the year-ago quarter. Analysts expected a net loss of 20 cents
Shares of Micron were down 2.79 percent in extended trade
after closing down 0.44 percent at $6.79.