Western Digital beats Q4 expectations with growth across categories

Demand for notebook and desktop HDDs was better than expected, helping to drive solid revenue growth in Western Digital's Client Devices category.

Western Digital on Wednesday reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter financial results, with growth across segments. Demand for notebook and desktop HDDs was better than expected, helping to drive solid revenue growth in Client Devices, Western Digital's biggest business segment. 

The company's Q4 non-GAAP earnings per share came to $2.16 on revenue of $4.9 billion, up 15% year-over-year. 

Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.49 on revenue of $4.53 billion. 

"I am extremely proud of the outstanding execution our team exhibited as we achieved another quarter of strong revenue, gross margin and EPS results above expectations," CEO David Goeckeler said in a statement. "Throughout this fiscal year, we successfully delivered both flash and hard drive innovations that are essential building blocks in the acceleration of the data economy. This innovation, combined with our broad channels to market, diverse end market exposure and improved operational efficiency, enabled us to successfully navigate through the pandemic and capitalize on strategic growth opportunities. We believe we have the right foundation for success - the right products, the right customer base, and the unique ability to address two very large and growing markets."

Fourth-quarter Client Devices revenue increased 13% year-over-year, to $2.17 billion. The segment saw broad-based strength across nearly every product category on a sequential basis. Demand for notebook and desktop HDDs was better than expected, as was the demand for flash-based solutions. In addition, there was robust demand for gaming, smart video, automotive and industrial applications.

Data Center Devices and Solutions revenue in Q4 increased 6% to $1.78 billion, thanks to a record shipment of over 104 exabytes in capacity enterprise hard drives. The 18-terabyte energy-assisted hard drive comprised nearly half of Western Digital's capacity enterprise shipments. 

Client Solutions revenue in Q4 increased 42% year-over-year to $977 million. The segment saw greater than seasonal demand resulting in sequential growth for both HDD and flash-based solutions. 

"Despite the uneven reopening of economies around the world, the company was able to drive growth in both revenue and gross margin due to the breadth of its portfolio and many routes to market," Western Digital said in its release. 

For the full fiscal year 2021, non-GAAP EPS was $4.55 on revenue of $16.9 billion, up 1% year-over-year.

Western Digital expects first-quarter 2022 revenue to range from $4.9 billion to $5.10 billion.