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Hutchinson Technology Reports First Quarter Net Loss

TSA+ Efficiency Improves Significantly

Volume Ramp of Thailand Operations on Schedule

HUTCHINSON, Minn., Jan. 25, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hutchinson Technology Incorporated (Nasdaq:HTCH) today reported a net loss of $17.0 million, or $0.73 per share, on net sales of $68.2 million for its fiscal 2011 first quarter ended December 26, 2010. In the preceding quarter, the company reported a net loss of $27.1 million, or $1.16 per share, on net sales of $74.0 million. Results for both the fiscal 2011 first quarter and the preceding quarter included $2.2 million, or $0.10 per share, of non-cash interest expense resulting from the company's adoption, at the beginning of fiscal 2010, of Financial Accounting Standards Board guidance for accounting for convertible debt instruments.

"The benefits of prior cost reductions and significant improvements in our TSA+ yield and output enabled us to reduce our first quarter loss compared with the preceding quarter," said Wayne Fortun, Hutchinson Technology's president and chief executive officer. "Our TSA+ yield and output improvements and the ramp to higher volume at our Thailand assembly operation are moving us toward our goal of being the lowest cost producer of suspension assemblies. These initiatives, combined with increasing our revenue through growth in the overall suspension assembly market and higher market share, are essential to returning the company to positive cash flow and profitability." 

The company's first quarter suspension assembly shipments declined 3.5 percent compared with the preceding quarter, in line with its previous guidance. "We believe that the first quarter will be the low point for our quarterly suspension assembly volume in fiscal 2011 and expect to see modest market share growth in the balance of the fiscal year," said Fortun. 

Fiscal 2011 first quarter gross profit increased to $3.3 million, as the company realized the benefits of its 2010 cost reduction actions and reduced its TSA+ cost burden to $3.1 million. Gross profit also improved due to better utilization of its component manufacturing capacity, as the company increased its TSA+ flexure inventory to provide supply assurance for its customers and increased component inventory to support the production ramp at its Thailand assembly operation. 

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