Updated from 4:48 p.m. ESTSales to makers of consumer electronics devices continue to lift the fortunes of hard-drive maker Seagate Technology ( STX), which posted the first quarter of $3 billion in revenue in the history of the industry. Unlike most of the technology companies that have reported earnings in the last few weeks, Seagate delivered solid guidance. However, the company's bottom line was punished by acquisition-related charges that pushed net income down by 51%. Even so, investors liked the second-quarter report, and in after-hours trading shares were up $1.02, or 3.9%, to $27.20. The Scotts Valley, Calif., company earned a profit of $140 million, or 23 cents a share, during the December quarter. Last year, Seagate posted a profit of $287 million, or 57 cents a share. Revenue was $2.99 billion, including $200 million from legacy Maxtor products, up 30% from last year's $2.3 billion in sales. Excluding $76 million in charges related to the Maxtor acquisition and $19 million for the early retirement of 8% notes, Seagate earned a profit of $236 million, or 39 cents a share. On that basis, the company easily surpassed Wall Street's expectations by 7 cents a share. Analysts were looking for sales of $2.92 billion. Looking to the third, or March, quarter, Seagate expects to return a non-GAAP profit ranging from 56 cents a share to 60 cents a share on sales ranging from $2.9 billion to $3 billion. Analysts were projecting an EPS of 54 cents on sales of $2.9 billion.
For the full year, the company said it expects a non-GAAP profit of $1.70 to $1.75 a share on revenue of $11.5 billion to $11.7 billion. That, too, exceeded expectations of $1.67 a share on sales of $11.5 billion. Sales of small hard drives to companies such as Apple ( AAPL), maker of the wildly popular iPod, pushed Seagate's sales to makers of consumer electronics to 7.1 million units in the December quarter, roughly double last year's total of 3.53 million units. CFO Charles Pope said that margins for consumer electronics products are a bit lower than the corporate average, but the explosive growth of the category more than makes up for that deficiency. By contrast, sales of drives for use in desktop computers, still the lion's share of the business, grew by 36% to 25.7 million units in the quarter, Pope said. Pope also said in an interview that losses of market share held by Maxtor were somewhat less than expected, and he added that the company has been fully integrated into Seagate. The company kept 75% of Maxtor's enterprise business and 50% of its desktop business. Pricing in the quarter, perhaps because of the elimination of a competitor, was a bit less aggressive than usual, and the company foresees no shortages of components in the current quarter. Seagate also announced a dividend of 10 cents a share to be paid on or before Feb. 16, 2007, to all common shareholders of record as of Feb. 2, 2007.