Western Digital Q4 sees data center strength, but Q1 outlook disappoints

As for the outlook, Western Digital projected revenue between $3.7 billion and $3.9 billion with non-GAAP earnings between 45 cents a share and 65 cents a share. The outlook includes COVID-19 related costs.

Western Digital reported solid fourth quarter results courtesy of strong demand for data center storage, but the company's outlook for the first quarter disappointed.

The company reported fourth quarter earnings of $148 million, or 49 cents a share, on revenue of $4.3 billion, up 18% from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings for the quarter were $1.23 a share.

Wall Street was looking for fourth quarter non-GAAP earnings of $1.22 a share on revenue of $4.34 billion.

As for the outlook, Western Digital projected revenue between $3.7 billion and $3.9 billion with non-GAAP earnings between 45 cents a share and 65 cents a share. The outlook includes COVID-19 related costs.

For the first quarter, Wall Street was expecting Western Digital to deliver earnings of $1.34 a share on revenue of $4.35 billion.

By unit, Western Digital saw the best demand in data center storage, up 32% in the fourth quarter. Client device revenue in the fourth quarter was up 19% and client solutions sales fell 9%.

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Consumers were buying client SSDs for remote work and education, but notebook and desktop drives fell. Cloud demand drove data center sales.

For the fiscal year, Western Digital reported a net loss of $250 million, or 84 cents a share, on revenue of $16.74 billion, up 1%.

Western Digital CEO David Goeckeler said:

While we continue to navigate through a dynamic environment, we remain focused on managing the business for the long-term, including ramping two important product lines to high volume: our SSD products and our energy-assisted capacity enterprise drives.