Western Digital Q2 better than expected, CEO says flash market improving

Shares of Western Digital were up over 5% in late trading.

Western Digital topped analyst expectations for its fiscal second quarter, with retiring CEO Steve Milligan citing an improving flash market and stronger demand for hard drives. 

The company on Thursday reported a net loss of $139 million, or 47 cents a share. Non-GAAP earnings were 62 cents per share on revenue of $4.23 billion. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 58 cents a share on revenue of $4.22 billion. 

In the same quarter a year ago, Western Digital reported a net loss of $487 million, or $1.68 a share, on revenue of $4.2 billion.

Shares of Western Digital were up over 5% in late trading.

"The December quarter results reflect strong execution in our product roadmap, success in increasing our hard drive gross margin, and an improving flash market," said Milligan. "We expect an accelerated recovery in our flash gross margins, which coupled with ongoing strength in demand for both hard drives and flash, positions us well for continued profitable growth in calendar year 2020."

Elsewhere on the balance sheet, Western Digital said it generated approximately $257 million in cash from operations during the second quarter. It ended the quarter with $3.1 billion total cash and cash equivalents.

For Q3, Wall Street expects Western Digital to report revenue of $4.06 billion and non-GAAP earnings of 73 cents per share.

In a separate announcement, Western Digital said that it has successfully developed its fifth-generation 3D NAND technology, BiCS5. The company said the chip is its highest density and most advanced 3D NAND technology to date. Commercial-level production is expected for the second of half of 2020.