Micron sees supply-chain shortages 'easing throughout 2022'

Micron said constraints on chips across the industry should ease "throughout 2022, supporting demand growth" for the memory-chip industry.
Written by Tiernan Ray, Senior Contributing Writer

Memory-chip giant Micron Technology this afternoon reported fiscal Q4 revenue and profit that both topped Wall Street's expectations, but an outlook for the current quarter's revenue and profit that was well below consensus. 

The company said, however, that supply-chain constraints that have roiled the electronics industry all year should become less of a burden during the course of 2022.

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The report sent Micron shares down 4% in late trading. 

CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said the company's "outstanding fourth quarter execution capped a year of several key milestones," noting that the company in the fiscal year had "established DRAM and NAND technology leadership, drove record revenues across multiple markets, and initiated a quarterly dividend."

Added Mehrotra, "The demand outlook for 2022 is strong, and Micron is delivering innovative solutions to our customers, fueling our long-term growth."

Revenue in the three months ended in August rose to $8.27 billion, yielding a net loss of $2.42 a share, excluding some costs

Analysts had been modeling $8.23 billion and $2.33 per share.

Micron's gross profit margin on a non-GAAP basis came in at 47.9%, which was up thirteen percentage points from the year-ago Q4.

For the current quarter, the company sees revenue of $7.45 billion to $7.85 billion, and EPS in a range of $2 to  $2.20 per share. That compares to consensus for $8.54 billion and $2.53 in profit per share.

Gross profit is expected in a range of 46% to 48%.

In a document of prepared remarks released separately, CEO Mehrotra said that supply-chain constraints should ease as calendar year 2022 progresses: 

We anticipate underlying demand in calendar 2022 to be led by increasing data center server deployments, 5G mobile shipments and continued strength in automotive and industrial markets. Additionally, non-memory supply shortages that are constraining customer builds across various end market segments and that are pushing out some demand should ease throughout 2022, supporting demand growth during the year. Given prudent industry capex and very lean supplier inventories, we expect healthy industry supply-demand balance and robust profitability for both DRAM and NAND in the year. 

Micron's prepared remarks indicate the DRAM and NAND markets are less tight in terms of suppy relative to demand than in prior quarters. Specifically, Micron removed the language it used last quarter saying that supply of DRAM chips is tight. 

In this evening's investor presentation, the company said, "Expect CY-21 DRAM big demand growth to be in the low 20% range; Expect CY-22 demand growth consistent with long-term bit growth CAGR [compounded annual growth rate] of mid-to-high teens percent." 

That compares to Micron's statement last quarter saying, "Expect CY-21 DRAM industry bit demand growth to be somewhat above 20%, with DRAM industry supply below demand; there is currently unmet demand for DRAM due to tend market strength and we expect the DRAM market to remain tight into CY-22." 

Likewise, in the company's obsevations about NAND, micron this evening says, "Expect CY-21 NAND bit demand growth to be in the high 30% range; Expect CY-22 demand growth consistent with long-term bit growth CAGR of approximately 30%." 

That is different from Micron's statement last quarter indicating NAND tightness of supply: "Expect CY-21 NAND industry bit demand growth in the mid-30% range, with NAND supply below demadn; we also see the NAND market as tight into CY-22."

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