Micron Posts Wider Fourth-Quarter Loss on Memory-Chip Slump

Micron Technology Inc. (MU), the largest U.S. maker of memory chips, reported a wider fourth-quarter loss and lower revenue as lackluster demand for personal computers reduced sales of components.

The net loss for the period that ended Aug. 30 was $243 million, or 24 cents a share, compared with a loss of $135 million, or 14 cents, a year earlier, the Boise, Idaho-based company said today in a filing. Revenue fell 8.3 percent to $1.96 billion. Analysts on average estimated a loss of 23 cents on sales of $2.11 billion, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.

Shrinking demand for PCs sent sales of dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, down 9 percent in the quarter, Micron said. Weak demand for parts is a bad sign, especially in the period before the holiday season and ahead of an updated version of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows, which traditionally has stoked shipments, said Alex Gauna, an analyst at JMP Securities LLC.

“It’s concerning, not just for Micron, but for anyone that’s touching it,” Gauna said. “What’s really concerning is the lack of uptick around Windows 8.”

Micron also makes so-called Nand flash memory, chips used to store data in smartphones, which declined in price by an average of 5 percent, the company said.

Micron shares slipped to $5.95 after the report. They had risen 1.3 percent to $6.02 at the close in New York. The stock has lost 4.4 percent this year.

Elpida Purchase

In July, Micron agreed to acquire bankrupt Elpida Memory Inc. for 200 billion yen ($2.57 billion). The transaction is aimed at grabbing control of more supply and making it better able to take on industry leader Samsung Electronics Co. as well as South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc. Elpida, the last Japanese maker of computer-memory chips, sought bankruptcy protection in February after losses left it unable to pay debts.

The slowing of expansion plans by the memory-chip industry and elimination of another competitor when Micron completes the takeover of Elpida will improve prices next year as demand and supply are better aligned, Doug Freedman, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a research note.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.net; Ryan Faughnder in New York at rfaughnder@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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