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Western Digital Posts Quarterly Sales Ahead of Estimates

Western Digital Corp., a maker of hard drives, reported fiscal second-quarter sales that beat analysts’ predictions as its personal computer maker-customers returned to ordering.

Sales rose 92 percent from a year earlier to $3.82 billion in the three months ended Dec. 28. Net income more than doubled to $335 million, or $1.36 per share, from $145 million, or 61 cents, the Irvine, California-based company said in a statement yesterday. Analysts estimated profit of $1.71 a share on sales of $3.65 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Western Digital shares have surged amid signs that computer makers have started buying components again after cutting demand last year. The company’s ability to generate cash has also sparked speculation that it may go private, following a Bloomberg News report last week that Dell Inc., the third-largest personal computer maker, is in talks for a leveraged buyout.

The company sees sales in the current quarter of $3.55 billion to $3.65 billion, Chief Financial Officer Wolfgang Nickl said on a conference call. Analysts had predicted revenue of $3.55 billion on average.

The hard disk drive market will be “flat to slightly down” from the previous quarter’s 136 million units, he said.

While a weak economy is weighing on Western Digital’s sales, the second half of 2013 may see demand increase, Chief Executive Officer Steve Milligan said on the call.

“The overall market for hard drives is beginning to stabilize,” he said.

The company’s shares climbed 2.9 percent to $48.44 at 10:56 a.m. in New York. Through yesterday, the stock had gained 36 percent in the past 12 months.

Seagate Technology Plc, a rival to Western Digital, said Jan. 8 that sales in its fiscal-second quarter rose to at least $3.6 billion, exceeding an earlier forecast for $3.5 billion.

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