(Corrects paragraph 8 to say NAND prices fell 14 pct, not
* Q1 profit 1 tln won vs 971 bln won forecast
* Tight DRAM supply conditions to support earnings
SEOUL, April 24 SK Hynix Inc., the
world's second-largest memory chipmaker, reported a 35 percent
rise in first-quarter operating profit as a key China plant
returned to full production and boosted sales.
The restoration of the fire-hit Wuxi plant comes as supply
conditions for dynamic random access memory chips used for
personal computers are tight, helping to support the chipmaker's
bottom line in the face of declining global PC sales.
The South Korean firm, which competes with market leader
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Japan's Toshiba Corp.
and U.S.-based Micron Technology Inc, posted an
operating profit of 1 trillion won for the January-March period.
The result was slightly better than the average forecast
from 34 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S of 971
billion won. It was in line with StarMine's SmartEstimate, which
gives greater weighting to more accurate analysts.
Average DRAM contract prices fell 1.56 percent in the second
half of March, according to price tracker DRAMeXchange.com,
reflecting weak sales of personal computers which have hurt
demand for DRAM chips.
Offsetting the price slump is a rush to replenish inventory
levels hit by the fire late last year at the Wuxi plant, which
made 15 percent of global DRAM chips prior to the incident.
SK Hynix said DRAM chip shipments in the first quarter rose
by 20 percent from the previous three-month period, with prices
Meanwhile a ramp-up in production is driving down prices of
more lucrative NAND memory chips used in mobile phones. SK Hynix
said NAND chip prices fell 14 percent in the January-March
period from the previous quarter, while shipments dropped 8
The price pressures could be cushioned by higher demand
linked to the release of new smartphones in the coming months,
including the next iPhone from major Hynix client Apple Inc
On Wednesday, Apple reported sales of 43.7 million iPhones
in the quarter ended March, far outpacing the roughly 38 million
that Wall Street had predicted.
(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates)