Seagate Technology 1Q Profit, Sales Soar

Business Materials 17 October 2007 06:26

Seagate Technology, the world's largest maker of hard drives, on Tuesday reported a stronger-than-expected profit for its fiscal first quarter, as demand drove up its sales 18 percent

Net income for the quarter that ended Sept. 28 grew to $355 million, or 64 cents per share, more than 18 times the year-ago period's earnings of $19 million, or 3 cents per share.

Excluding about $30 million of amortization and other charges associated with its acquisitions of Maxtor and EVault, Seagate earned 69 cents per share in the latest period, beating Wall Street's expectations of adjusted earnings of 64 cents per share, according to poll of analysts by Thomson Financial.

Revenue climbed to $3.29 billion from $2.79 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Analysts were projecting revenue of $3.22 billion.

In August, Seagate raised its outlook for the first quarter, due to favorable supply and demand conditions and a better product mix, forecasting profit of 57 cents to 61 cents per share on revenue of $3.15 billion to $3.25 billion.

The company said it shipped a record 47 million disk drives in the quarter, up 21 percent from the year-ago period.

"We had a strong July quarter and then by this quarter, everything was sold out across the board," Seagate CEO Bill Watkins said in an interview Tuesday.

The gamut ranged from computers for consumers and businesses to game consoles and digital video recorders.

Disk drives for laptop computers were particularly strong, with Seagate shipping a record 7.9 million units, up 87 percent from the year-ago quarter.

A year ago, 750-gigabyte hard drives were not even available. In the fiscal first quarter, Seagate said it sold 1.5 million of them. "Everyone wants bigger hard drives now," Watkins said.

Watkins predicted the entire hard drive industry will end up reporting a shipment total of 132 million drives for the last quarter, reflecting a 15 percent increase from the previous year.

For the quarter ending in December, Seagate said it expects to report earnings of 66 cents to 70 cents per share on sales of $3.4 million to $3.5 billion. On an adjusted basis excluding one-time items, Seagate expects earnings per share to be 71 cents to 75 cents -- higher than the estimate of 69 cents per share that analysts polled by Thomson Financial were projecting.

Shares of Seagate closed at $26.45, down 44 cents, but gained 36 cents in extended trading following the news.

The company is based in the Cayman Islands but operates out of Scotts Valley. ( AP )