, a supplier of flash memory data storage products, reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts expectations, but the company warned of a pending slowdown through the first half of fiscal 2001.

Fourth-quarter income rose to $29.5 million, or 41 cents a share, from $10 million, or 15 cents a share, in the year-ago period. According to

First Call/Thomson Financial

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, analysts expected the company to earn 37 cents. Revenue more than doubled to $177.7 million from $82.8 million in the fourth quarter of 1999, but came in below internal projections. Product revenue rose to $154.7 million from $69.9 million.

SanDisk said current market conditions are "likely to adversely impact the first one or two quarters of 2001." The company is "taking aggressive steps to manage our flash production output. We are actively managing our inventory and we expect it to return to historical levels by the second half of the year."

The company expects first-quarter product revenue to fall 15% to 20% sequentially, with earnings per share "approximately in line" with the year-ago period, excluding a one-time gain. The company also forecast that revenue in 2001 would grow about 30% above the $601.8 million reported for fiscal 2000. The company expects fiscal 2001 earnings per share "to grow slightly" from $1.30 a share in 2000.

Analysts expect SanDisk to earn 33 cents in the first quarter, up from 21 cents last year, and $1.52 for 2001.