SAN JOSE, Calif. Amid a plan to boost its capital spending, Micron Technology Inc. missed Wall Street's expectations for the quarter due to slumping memory prices.
The memory supplier posted sales of $1.189 billion for its fourth fiscal quarter, compared to $1.116 billion in the previous quarter and $885.5 million a year ago.
Micron (Boise, Ida.) reported a net income of $94 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, in the period. This compares to a net loss of $123 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003, and a profit of $90.9 million, or $0.13, in the previous period.
The company missed Wall Street's expectations despite the positive numbers. It was supposed to earn $0.20 a share on sales of $1.23 billion, according to Thomson First Call.
For the 2004 fiscal year, the company earned net income of $157 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, on net sales of $4.404 billion, up 42 percent over 2003. These annual results compare to a net loss of $1.273 billion, or minus $2.11 per diluted share, for fiscal 2003.
Micron's growth rate in memory production was constrained, due in part to the allocation of wafers for products like synchronous DRAM and NOR flash memory devices. Average selling prices for the company's semiconductor memory products in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004 were approximately 5 percent lower than the preceding quarter and were approximately 20 percent higher than the fourth quarter of the prior fiscal year.
Meanwhile, the company also set plans to boost its capital spending. Capital expenditures for fiscal year 2005 are estimated at $1.5 billion, principally for the continued ramp of production its 300-mm wafer fab in Virginia. In comparison, Micron is said to have spent $1.075 billion in 2003, according to IC Insights Inc. (see Sept. 15 story).
As reported, Micron plans to move from 248-nm lithography to 193-nm immersion technology, thereby skipping 193-nm "dry" lithography within its production fabs entirely.
At present, Micron primarily uses 248-nm scanners from ASML Holding NV of the Netherlands. The memory maker also has an installed base of scanners from Canon Inc. of Japan within its fab in Singapore.
Going forward, Micron plans to push its 248-nm scanners down to the 90-nm node, thanks in part to phase-shifting technology. The memory maker is expected to get its first 193-nm immersion tools from ASML next year. It plans to use the technology at the sub-70-nm node (see Sept. 16 story).