Western Digital's Q4: $4.8B in revenue, 71M hard drives shipped

UPDATED: Following smashing Q4 results, Western Digital executives project first fiscal quarter earnings during call.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

While the hard drive industry continues to recover this year amid a tumultuous time for all tech companies given the economic uncertainty in Europe, Western Digital managed a blowout.
The storage solution supplier reported fourth fiscal quarter earnings of $745 million, or $2.87 per share (statement). Non-GAAP earnings were $3.35 a share on a revenue of $4.8 billion.
Wall Street was looking for fourth quarter earnings of $2.47 a share on revenue of $4.25 billion.

For fiscal 2012, Western Digital reported revenue of $12.5 billion and a non-GAAP net income of $2.1 billion, or $8.61 per share.
In the wake of the floods in Thailand last year that have hampered the hard disk drive industry since, CEO John Coyne described in prepared remarks that fiscal 2012 was "one of the most challenging and exciting years" in the company's 42-year history.

While responding to two major natural disasters and completing the largest acquisition in the history of the industry, we achieved year-over-year revenue growth of 31 percent and more than doubled earnings per share.

In the June quarter, demand was in line with our forecast as industry shipments reached 157 million units, bringing total HDD shipments for the year to 599 million units. Our WD and HGST subsidiaries both performed ahead of plan in Q4, delivering great products with consistent execution, resulting in strong revenue growth, gross margin and cash flows.

Q4, by the numbers:

  • 71.0 million hard drives shipped
  • Western Digital repaid $558 million of debt and spent $604 million to buy back over 16 million shares of common stock.
  • Generated $1.1 billion in cash from operations, ending with a total of cash and cash equivalents equaling $3.2 billion

UPDATE: Western Digital executives announced the outlook during the quarterly conference call with investors on Wednesday afternoon.

For the outlook, Western Digital is predicting a revenue of $4.2 billion to $4.3 billion at the end of the first fiscal quarter of 2013 in September with non-GAAP earnings between $2.45 to $2.55 per share.

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