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Western Digital (WDC) Q3 Earnings and Revenues Lag Estimates

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Western Digital (WDC - Free Report) Q3 Earnings and Revenues Lag Estimates

Western Digital Corporation (WDC - Free Report) reported third-quarter fiscal 2020 non-GAAP earnings of 85 cents per share, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9.6%. However, the figure surged 400% year over year and 37.1% sequentially.

Revenues of $4.175 billion increased 14% year over year. Performance was driven by robust demand from cloud customers during the fiscal third quarter and an uptrend in flash pricing.

However, the figure declined 1.4% sequentially and lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.5%.

Notably, shares have declined 7.4% in the past year compared with the industry’s decline of 19.5%.

Western Digital Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise



Quarter in Detail

Client devices (43.9% of total revenues) increased 13% year over year and 2% sequentially to $1.831 billion, driven by solid revenues from client Solid State Drive (SSDs) and recovery in flash pricing.

Moreover, the company witnessed increased demand for notebook solutions due to growing work-from home and e-learning trends stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. However, softened demand for desktop and smart video hard drives hurt segment growth.

Client solutions (19.7%) increased 2% year over year to $821 million. However, the figure declined 13% sequentially due to COVID-19’s impact on retail demand.

Notably, lockdowns have forced brick and mortar retail stores to temporarily close down. The company expects the closure of physical stores to be a headwind in the near term.

Data center devices and solutions (36.4%) increased 22% year over year and 2% sequentially to $1.523 billion, driven by strong traction for Enterprise SSDs. Notably, the company’s latest 96-layer NVMe-based SSDs have completed more than 20 qualifications, with more than 100 qualifications in progress at multiple Cloud and OEM customers.

Additionally, the company is witnessing robust demand for its 14-terabyte drives and robust traction for 16 and 18-terabyte energy assisted drives.

Considering revenues by product group, HDD revenues (50.6% of total revenues) increased 2% from the year-ago quarter’s level to $2.114 billion. However, the figure dropped 11.8% on a sequential basis. Flash revenues (49.4%) improved 28% from the year-ago quarter’s figure and 12.1% sequentially to $2.061 billion.

Key Metrics

The company shipped 24.4 million HDDs at an average selling price (ASP) of $85. The reported shipments were lower than the year-ago quarter’s figure by 12.2%.

On a quarter-over-quarter basis, HDD Exabytes sales declined 6%. Flash exabytes sales increased 7%. Total exabytes sales (excluding non-memory products) were down 5% sequentially.

ASP/Gigabytes (excluding non-memory products) moved up 5% sequentially.


Non-GAAP gross margin of 27.9% expanded 260 basis points (bps) on a year-over-year basis.

Notably, non-GAAP Flash gross margin expanded 560 bps from the year-ago quarter’s figure, driven stronger pricing trends and cost reduction measures. Meanwhile, non-GAAP HDD gross margin expanded 70 bps year over year to 29.3%.

Non-GAAP operating expenses declined 0.5% from the year-ago quarter’s level to $738 million. Management remains focused on undertaking strict spending measures.

Non-GAAP operating income came in at $427 million, which increased 129.6% year over year. As a percentage of revenues, non-GAAP operating margin of 10.22% expanded 516 bps on a year-over-year basis.

Balance Sheet & Cash Flow

As of Apr 3, 2020, cash and cash equivalents were $2.943 billion, down from $3.137 billion reported as of Dec 31, 2019.

Total debt (including current portion) was $9.629 billion as of Apr 3, down from $9.986 billion as of Dec 31, 2019, having repaid debt of $212 million in the third quarter.

Western Digital generated $204 million in cash from operations compared with $257 million reported in the previous quarter.

Free cash outflow came in at $110 million compared with free cash flow of $377 million in the prior quarter.

During the quarter, the company paid out dividends worth $149 million.

On Apr 30, Western Digital suspended its dividend policy to strengthen reinvestment in innovation and growth as well as to facilitate ongoing deleveraging efforts.


For fourth-quarter fiscal 2020, revenues are expected in the range of $4.25-$4.45 billion. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is currently pegged at $4.27 billion.

Non-GAAP gross margin is anticipated in the range of 29-31%.

Non-GAAP operating expenses are expected between $740 million and $760 million. Interest and other expenses are estimated between $75 million and $80 million.

Management projects non-GAAP earnings between $1.00 cents and $1.05 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings is currently pegged at $1.23 cents.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Currently, Western Digital carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Netlist, Inc. (NLST - Free Report) , Pixelworks, Inc. (PXLW - Free Report) and InterDigital, Inc. (IDCC - Free Report) are some better-ranked stocks worth considering in the broader computer and technology sector, each flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term earnings growth rate for Netlist and InterDigital is pegged at 15% each, while Pixelworks is pegged at 20%.

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