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Thai flooding impact on tech companies, suppliers

By The Associated Press
April 30, 2012
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What tech manufacturers and suppliers have been saying about the impact from heavy flooding in Thailand:

Oct. 12, 2011: Seagate Technology PLC, which makes hard drives, says its factories in Thailand have been operational, but it may have difficulty making hard drives because of constraints in getting parts.

Oct. 17: Computer hard drive maker Western Digital Corp. says flooding damage to its Thailand locations will have a significant impact on its operations and its ability to meet customer demand the rest of the year.

Oct. 18: Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook says he is "virtually certain there will be an overall industry shortage of disk drives." Cook warns that Apple's Mac lines will be most affected.

Oct. 19: Data storage equipment maker Emulex Corp. says a subcontracted manufacturing facility in Ayudhaya has suspended operations due to flooding.

Oct. 24: Fabrinet, which provides services and parts for optical, electro-mechanical and electronic manufacturing companies, says it expects its Chokchai plants to remain shuttered through the rest of the quarter.

Emcore Corp., which makes semiconductor-based components for broadband, fiber optic, solar and other markets, says flooding penetrated a contractor's production facility over the weekend, submerging some equipment. Emcore says it will have trouble meeting customer demand for fiber optic products, but it's ramping up production in China and other areas. The company's solar division wasn't affected by the floods.

Oct. 26: Computer networking equipment maker Digi International Inc. says flooding inundated an unnamed contract manufacturer, leaving it unclear when it can resume working with Digi. Digi says it has halted all of its Thailand-based operations as it reviews how it to meet existing business requirements by working with other contract manufacturers or using its own manufacturing operation in the U.S. and inventory on hand.

Semiconductor maker LSI Corp. warns that supply-chain uncertainties because of the flooding may weigh on fourth-quarter results.

Nov. 1: JDS Uniphase Corp., which makes products for communications companies to test the quality of their networks, says it expects revenue in the current quarter to be reduced by $35 million to $45 million because of flooding. It says it has added employees in Thailand to help meet customer's needs.

Nov. 2: Lenovo Group Ltd., a leading maker of personal computers, says flooding in Thailand will likely impact the global supply of hard disk drives. It says it will "monitor the situation closely and take necessary actions to mitigate the potential impact."

Nov. 9: Cisco Systems Inc. says it is closely watching fallout from the flooding, particular for the effect on disk drives for its set-top boxes and on its optical-networking products. It says it has contingency plans in place to minimize any impact and has factored that into forecasts, but it expects things won't return to normal for several quarters.

Nov. 10: Research group IDC says the disaster's real effect isn't expected to hit makers of personal computers until early next year. In a worst-case scenario, PC shipments could drop more than 20 percent from previous forecasts in the first quarter of 2012. IDC says many of the personal computers that will be sold during the holiday season have already been produced or can be made with existing supplies of hard drives, limiting disruptions from the flooding.

Nov. 15: Dell Inc. says revenue will likely be hampered in the next few quarters because of shortages in hard drives. The company says it still cannot pinpoint the magnitude or duration of hard drive shortages because of the complexity of the situation. That means the industry needs to pay attention to how it allocates its resources through at least the first quarter of 2012. Dell notes that it has worked through other supply shortages in the industry before.

Nov. 16: NetApp Inc., a data-storage company, says supplies of hard disk drives are probably adequate for the current quarter, but flooding may affect revenue and margins next year.

Nov. 17: Marvell Technology Group Ltd., which makes digital storage devices and network components and chips for smartphones and other wireless devices, says damage from the floods will have an effect on its business, but the company says it has a strong balance sheet and diverse sources of revenue, which will help it manage those effects.

Nov. 21: Hewlett-Packard Co. says supply constraints should start to ease by the end of the fiscal second quarter, which ends in April. But the company says the situation remains dynamic. "I've been on the phone with the heads of all four of our disk drive partners and I'm not even sure they have a complete picture about when they're going to be back up and running," CEO Meg Whitman said. She says the company expects to get more than its fair share of drives because of long-term relationships with suppliers, but "this is going to be pretty tough for the industry."

Nov. 22: TiVo Inc. warns of increased costs for hard drives in the current quarter.

Nov. 28: Seagate says it will hit the low end of its previously forecast range of disk drive shipments. Seagate now expects to ship 43 million units in the current quarter. In October, it had projected 40 million to 50 million units.

Nov. 30: Analog and mixed-signal semiconductor maker Semtech Corp. says it expects results to be hampered in the current quarter. It issues a quarterly forecast that is short of analysts' expectations for adjusted earnings and revenue.

Dec. 8: IHS iSuppli estimates that the flooding will result in a shortfall of nearly 4 million PCs -- most of them laptops -- shipped in the first quarter of 2012. The research firm now expects global PC shipments to total 84.2 million in the period, down from a previous estimate of 88 million. This would be a drop of nearly 12 percent from the October-to-December period, using iSuppli's estimate of 95.3 million PCs in the current quarter.

Dec. 12: Intel Corp. cuts its fourth-quarter revenue outlook, saying that companies are reducing inventories and microprocessor purchases because of shortages of hard drives.

Jan. 4, 2012: Seagate says it shipped more hard disk drives in its December quarter than it had expected and will post revenue above its earlier guidance.

Jan. 5: Research firm Gartner Inc. lowers its global technology spending growth forecast because of the sluggish economy and the euro crisis. Gartner says the computer hardware sector will be the hardest hit, hurt by supply constraints in the hard disk drive industry.

Jan. 12: Gartner and IDC both say personal-computer shipments dipped slightly during the final three months of last year. Although sales have already been hurt by the popularity of mobile devices, the disk drive shortages compounded the problem.

Jan. 18: Sanmina-SCI Corp., which makes parts used in electronic equipment, says its fiscal first-quarter net income plunged 70 percent as flooding in Thailand and weakness in its communications networks division hurt sales.

Jan. 23: Western Digital CEO John Coyne says progress in restoring capacity in Thailand is "significantly ahead of our original expectations" and is reflected in the results in the latest quarter.

Chip-maker International Rectifier Corp. cuts its revenue forecast for the last three months of 2011 because of lower demand in China and Europe and supply-chain disruptions due to flooding.

Jan. 24: II-VI Inc., which makes lenses and other parts for lasers, says its profit dropped 31 percent in the fiscal second quarter as flooding in Thailand hurt its optics business.

Server technology company Super Micro Computer Inc. reaffirms that the impact of hard drive supplies will make the current quarter challenging. Revenue in the latest quarter grew less than 1 percent, hurt by the shortages.

Jan. 25: Molex Inc., which makes electronic components and cables, says its fiscal second-quarter net income fell 18 percent on a one-time charge and higher expenses as revenue declined due to flooding.

Semiconductor maker LSI Corp. predicts it will start the new year with a surprisingly strong quarter. The outlook helps assure investors that LSI is past the problems caused by the hard disk shortages, which had threatened to have ripple effects on LSI's semiconductors for data storage and networking.

Jan. 26: Japanese electronics company NEC Corp. says it is slashing 10,000 jobs worldwide and would lose money for the full year amid weakness in its mobile phone business and flooding in Thailand, which hit its platform business. The flooding damaged its factory, and NEC says it planned to build a replacement.

Marvell Technology lowers its fourth-quarter revenue outlook, citing Thailand flooding and weak year-end demand among mobile and wireless customers.

Emulex Corp., a maker of data storage and network equipment, says it was able to restore full production capacity at a cost of $2.1 million, reducing gross margins during the latest quarter.

Feb. 7: Emerson Electric says its net income fell 23 percent as the diversified manufacturing and technology company saw costs rise and sales take a hit from flooding in Thailand. Flooding caused supply chain disruptions that hurt results at Emerson's process management division and to a lesser extent at its network power business, delaying about $300 million in sales, most of which are expected to be recovered this year.

Feb. 9: Lenovo Group Ltd., the world's second-biggest maker of PCs, says a global shortage caused by flooding is adding $5 to $10 to the cost of each hard drive. Chief Financial Officer Wong Waiming says the impact of the floods on hard drive production will "likely continue to affect global PC supply" into the next quarter and hard drive costs "will continue to stay high in the short term."

Feb. 22: Hewlett Packard Co. blames flooding for more than half of its drop in revenue, a 7 percent decline to $30 billion. HP says it decided to divert supplies of drives to higher-margin products. It expects constraints to continue in the quarter through April, but the effect on revenue should be smaller compared with the recent quarter.

March 29: Data storage provider Xyratex Ltd. says its net income in the latest quarter more than doubled, despite flooding in Thailand hindering its ability to meet customer needs. Xyratex, based in England, had warned that it may have trouble meeting its customer's storage demands because of a limited supply of certain disk drives.

April 11: Estimates from Gartner and IDC suggest that PC manufacturers have mitigated hard drive supply constraints. Gartner says there were moderate problems in selected markets, such as low-end consumer laptops, but "low PC demand was able to mask the tight (hard drive) supply overall." IDC says larger PC makers such as HP and Dell succeeded in managing inventory and absorbing price increases in the parts.

April 17: Intel's results for the first quarter were held back by the hard-drive shortage. The company says hard-drive supplies improved during the quarter and the shortage is now over.

Seagate Technology, a hard-drive maker, says the company benefited from a general recovery in the market for hard drives.

April 26: Hard-drive maker Western Digital Corp. says the company and its suppliers have now recovered fully from the floods.

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