Western Digital says flash market has hit its trough

Western Digital says the flash market has bottomed out as it sees improving conditions for storage.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan said the flash storage market has hit its trough and conditions are improving.

Milligan's take was a welcome sign given that Western Digital has been whacked by a rough flash market. Milligan said fiscal 2019 was challenging across the board, but is starting to see momentum in the enterprise for solid state NVMe drives.

The storage company reported a fourth quarter net loss of $197 million, or 67 cents a share, on revenue of $3.6 billion. Non-GAAP earnings were 17 cents a share for the fourth quarter.

Wall Street was expecting Western Digital to report adjusted fourth quarter earnings of 17 cents a share on revenue of $3.67 billion. In the third quarter, Western Digital took a large inventory writedown

For fiscal 2019, Western Digital reported a net loss of $754 million, or $2.58 a share, on revenue of $16.6 billion, down from $20.6 billion in 2018.

"With continuing expectations for a positive demand environment, a robust product portfolio and expanding customer engagements, we expect to deliver improving financial results as we move through fiscal 2020," said Milligan.

Milligan's comments echo what Micron Technology said about a trough in the flash market and improving storage demand.

For the fiscal first quarter, Western Digital said it expects revenue to be between $3.8 billion and $4 billion with non-GAAP earnings between 15 cents a share and 35 cents a share. 

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