HUTCHINSON, Minn., Nov. 1, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hutchinson Technology Incorporated (Nasdaq:HTCH) today reported a net loss of $26.8 million, or $1.15 per share, on net sales of $74.0 million for its fiscal fourth quarter ended September 26, 2010. In the preceding quarter, the company reported a net loss of $18.5 million, or $0.79 per share, on net sales of $77.3 million.

Results for the fiscal 2010 fourth quarter included $3.7 million in severance costs, $2.9 million of startup costs for the company's Thailand assembly operation and $2.2 million 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. Results for the fiscal 2010 third quarter included $2.3 million of non-recurring asset write-downs in the BioMeasurement Division, $2.1 million of non-cash interest expense and $1.7 million of startup costs for the Thailand assembly operation.

Wayne M. Fortun, Hutchinson Technology's president and chief executive officer, said the company's shipments of suspension assemblies declined 5 percent compared with the preceding quarter, in line with the company's expectations. "Inventory reductions at a certain customer reduced our shipments and, as we previously indicated would occur, our fourth quarter volume was negatively impacted by a defect on some TSA+ product that we encountered late in our third quarter," said Fortun. "By the middle of our fourth quarter, we had implemented and validated a solution for this defect, and our TSA+ output and yield now exceed previous highs."

Fortun said the company completed construction of its Thailand facility on time and under budget and is now shipping product from the Thailand site for customer qualification, as planned. Fortun also said that the company is on track with previously announced plans to further reduce its costs by $25 million on an annualized basis and will continue to focus on reducing costs. "Continuing to improve our TSA+ production efficiency and ramping our Thailand assembly operations will move us closer to our goal of being the industry's lowest cost producer of suspension assemblies," said Fortun. "These efforts, 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 generation and profitability."

In the fiscal 2010 fourth quarter, the company's cash used by operations was $19.2 million, capital expenditures totaled $9.8 million and the company repaid the remaining $34 million balance on the loan obtained against its portfolio of auction rate securities. All of the company's remaining auction rate securities were put back to UBS at par value during the quarter, under the terms of a previous agreement. The company's cash and investments balance at quarter end totaled $104.5 million. The company said that it expects its fiscal 2011 capital expenditures to be $20 million to $25 million, compared to $32 million for fiscal 2010.

Disk Drive Components Division

The company shipped 110.4 million suspension assemblies in the fiscal 2010 fourth quarter, down from 116.6 million in the preceding quarter and 145.4 million in the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter. Compared with the preceding quarter, shipments for mobile and 3.5-inch ATA applications declined while shipments for enterprise applications increased.

The higher mix of shipments for enterprise applications mitigated continued pressure on prices. As a result, average selling price in the fourth quarter was 66 cents, up from 65 cents in the preceding quarter. Average selling price in the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter was 70 cents.

The company shipped 38 million TSA+ suspensions in the fiscal 2010 fourth quarter, up from 33 million in the preceding quarter and 18 million in the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter. Kathleen Skarvan, president of the Disk Drive Components Division, said that the cost burden of TSA+ flexure production in the fourth quarter remained about flat with the preceding quarter at $7.6 million primarily due to the costs of remediating the TSA+ defect. "However, due to a resumption of yield improvements and higher output, the cost burden decreased as we moved through the quarter," said Skarvan. "We are still targeting elimination of the cost burden in the first half of fiscal 2011, after which we will begin to realize a competitive cost advantage." The company's overall cost position is expected to further improve as its Thailand assembly operations ramp to higher volume.

Regarding the outlook for suspension assembly demand, the company expects its shipments in the fiscal 2011 first quarter to be 100 million to 110 million, in what it believes will be the low point for quarterly volume in fiscal 2011.

"Looking further ahead, we expect TSA+ suspension assemblies to account for a steadily increasing proportion of our shipments, growing from approximately a third of shipments in the fiscal 2010 fourth quarter to half of our shipments by mid-year and two-thirds of our shipments by year end," said Skarvan. "We are also shipping prototypes of dual-stage actuated (DSA) suspensions to four of the five hard disk drive OEMs, and we have received very positive feedback regarding the performance of our DSA suspensions in their tests."

BioMeasurement Division

Net sales for the BioMeasurement Division totaled $682,000 in the fiscal 2010 fourth quarter, up from $536,000 in the preceding quarter and $624,000 in last year's fourth quarter. Most of the sequential quarter increase in net sales resulted from repeat sensor sales to existing customers. For the full fiscal year, the number of sensors sold increased 63 percent compared with fiscal 2009 as repeat sales increased off of the growing base of installed monitors. At the end of fiscal 2010, the installed base of monitors totaled 344 across 138 customers compared with 222 across 98 customers at the end of fiscal 2009.

Rick Penn, president of the BioMeasurement Division, said that cost reductions in the division are nearly complete. "We expect to narrow the division's fiscal 2011 operating loss to less than $8 million compared with $24 million in fiscal 2010," said Penn. The division's net sales in fiscal 2011 are currently expected to range from $3 million to $5 million compared with $2.4 million in fiscal 2010. The division's expectations for fiscal 2011 net sales are contingent upon growing market acceptance of its existing and new products and upon hospital spending levels, which have been constrained by industry economic conditions.

During the fiscal 2011 first quarter, the company plans to launch a new product, the InSpectra(TM) StO2 Spot Check, in Europe and the Middle East and to file for marketing clearance of the product in the United States under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Premarket Notification, or 510(k), process. "This handheld device leverages our StO2 measurement technology and enables clinicians to quickly and cost-effectively identify at-risk patients, who can then be continuously monitored with our InSpectra StO2 Tissue Oxygenation Monitor," said Penn.

Penn said that the clinical and economic evidence for wider adoption of StO2 monitoring is compelling and growing. "Multiple clinical studies demonstrate that patients with low StO2 are at risk of poor outcomes and that measurement of StO2 identifies problems that other vital signs do not," said Penn. "Additionally, recent research suggests that using StO2 to guide patient treatment results in improved outcomes as well as economic benefits in the form of shortened length-of-stays in the ICU and hospital."

Hutchinson Technology to Host Conference Call

The company will conduct a conference call and webcast for investors beginning at 4:00 p.m. Central Time on Monday, November 1. Individual investors and news media may participate in the conference call live via the webcast, which will be available through the Investor Relations page on Hutchinson Technology's web site at Webcast participants will need to complete a brief registration form and should allow extra time before the webcast begins to register and, if necessary, download and install audio software.

About Hutchinson Technology

Hutchinson Technology is a global technology leader committed to creating value by developing solutions to critical customer problems. The company's Disk Drive Components Division is a leading worldwide supplier of suspension assemblies for disk drives. The company's BioMeasurement Division is focused on bringing new technologies and products to the market that provide information clinicians can use to improve the quality of health care and reduce costs.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding demand for and shipments of the company's products, production capability and costs, assembly operations in Thailand, product commercialization and adoption, capital expenditures, cost reductions, operating performance and financial results. The company does not undertake to update its forward-looking statements. These statements involve risks and uncertainties. The company's actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of changes in market demand and market consumption of disk drives or suspension assemblies, changes in demand for our products, market acceptance of new products, the company's ability to produce suspension assemblies at levels of precision, quality, volume and cost its customers require, changes in product mix, changes in customers yields, changes in storage capacity requirements, changes in expected data density, changes in the company's ability to establish an assembly operation in Asia, changes in the company's ability to reduce costs and other factors described from time to time in the company's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
                 Hutchinson Technology Incorporated        Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations - Unaudited                (In thousands, except per share data)                            Thirteen    Thirteen  Fifty-Two  Fifty-Two                              Weeks      Weeks      Weeks      Weeks                              Ended      Ended      Ended      Ended                            ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------                            Sept. 26,  Sept. 27,  Sept. 26,  Sept. 27,                              2010       2009       2010       2009                            ---------  ---------  ---------  --------- Net sales                  $  74,026  $ 103,242  $ 347,189  $ 408,022 Cost of sales                 74,060     85,778    314,224    400,488                            ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  Gross (loss) profit             (34)    17,464     32,965      7,534 Research and development  expenses                      5,293      4,716     21,429     26,776 Selling, general and  administrative expenses      15,215     10,228     55,601     54,880 Severance and other  expenses                      3,674        378      3,674     29,586 Asset impairment and  other charges                    --         --         --     71,809                            ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  (Loss) income from   operations                 (24,216)     2,142    (47,739)  (175,517) Interest expense              (3,652)    (4,653)   (15,876)   (19,762) Interest income                   70        308      1,311      3,184 Other income, net              1,099        750      2,356      1,536 Gain on extinguishment  of debt                          --      3,155          6     17,253 Impairment of long-term  investments                      --         --       (319)     4,390                            ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  (Loss) income before   income taxes               (26,699)     1,702    (60,261)  (168,916) Provision (benefit) for  income taxes                    107        (55)    (1,585)      (209)                            ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  Net (loss) income         $ (26,806) $   1,757  $ (58,676) $(168,707)                            =========  =========  =========  ========= Basic (loss) earnings  per share                 $   (1.15) $    0.08  $   (2.51) $   (7.27)                            =========  =========  =========  ========= Diluted (loss) earnings  per share                 $   (1.15) $    0.08  $   (2.51) $   (7.27)                            =========  =========  =========  ========= Weighted-average common  shares outstanding           23,366     23,353     23,362     23,214                            =========  =========  =========  ========= Weighted-average common  and diluted shares  outstanding                  23,366     23,503     23,362     23,214                            =========  =========  =========  =========                  Hutchinson Technology Incorporated           Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets - Unaudited                  (In thousands, except shares data)                                                  Sept. 26,  Sept. 27,                                                    2010       2009 ASSETS                                           ---------  --------- Current assets:  Cash and cash equivalents                        $ 55,639  $ 106,391  Short-term investments                             48,899     96,316  Trade receivables, net                             47,629     63,448  Other receivables                                   7,849      8,445  Inventories                                        53,568     46,878  Other current assets                                2,353      4,932                                                  ---------  ---------   Total current assets                             215,937    326,410 Long-term investments                                   --     24,316 Property, plant and equipment, net                 258,233    279,336 Other assets                                         5,542      5,425                                                  ---------  ---------                                                  $ 479,712  $ 635,487                                                  =========  ========= LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' INVESTMENT Current liabilities:  Current maturities of long-term debt            $   1,280  $ 102,804  Accounts payable                                   15,788     17,536  Accrued expenses                                    8,593     11,183  Accrued compensation                               12,911     13,139                                                  ---------  ---------   Total current liabilities                         38,572    144,662 Long-term debt, less current maturities                271        946 Convertible subordinated notes                     174,920    166,464 Other long-term liabilities                          1,271      1,705 Shareholders' investment:  Common stock $.01 par value, 100,000,000 shares   authorized, 23,371,000 and 23,359,000   issued and outstanding                               234        234  Additional paid-in capital                        422,089    418,572  Accumulated other comprehensive  income               630      2,503  Accumulated loss                                 (158,275)   (99,599)                                                  ---------  ---------   Total shareholders' investment                   264,678    321,710                                                  ---------  ---------                                                  $ 479,712  $ 635,487                                                  =========  =========                  Hutchinson Technology Incorporated     Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows - Unaudited                       (Dollars in thousands)                                                  Fifty-Two  Fifty-Two                                                    Weeks      Weeks                                                    Ended      Ended                                                  ---------  ---------                                                  Sept. 26,  Sept. 27,                                                    2010       2009                                                  ---------  --------- Operating activities:  Net loss                                        $ (58,676) $(168,707)  Adjustments to reconcile net loss to   cash provided by operating activities:    Depreciation and amortization                    52,874     76,566    Stock-based compensation                          3,462      4,244    Non-cash interest expense                         8,456      8,793    Asset impairment charge                           2,294     71,640    Loss (gain) on short- and long-term     investments                                        319     (4,390)    Gain on extinguishment of debt, net                  (6)   (17,253)    Loss (gain) on disposal of assets                   173     (1,762)    Severance and other expenses                      1,025         --    Changes in operating assets and liabilities       5,159     50,169                                                  ---------  ---------     Cash provided by operating activities           15,080     19,300                                                  ---------  --------- Investing activities:  Capital expenditures                              (32,481)   (20,609)  Proceeds from the sale of PP&E                         --     12,205  Purchases of marketable securities                (71,739)   (46,883)  Sales/maturities of marketable securities         141,126    133,819                                                  ---------  ---------    Cash provided by investing activities            36,906     78,532                                                  ---------  --------- Financing activities:  Net proceeds from issuance of common stock             55      1,508  Net proceeds from loan                                 --     55,699  Repayment of long-term debt                      (102,793)  (110,957)                                                  ---------  ---------    Cash used by financing activities              (102,738)   (53,750)                                                  ---------  --------- Net (decrease) increase in cash and  cash equivalents                                  (50,752)    44,082 Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period   106,391     62,309                                                  ---------  --------- Cash and cash equivalents at end of period       $  55,639  $ 106,391                                                  =========  =========                  Hutchinson Technology Incorporated               Earnings Per Share Calculation - Unaudited                 (In thousands, except per share data)                            Thirteen   Thirteen   Fifty-Two  Fifty-Two                              Weeks      Weeks      Weeks      Weeks                              Ended      Ended      Ended      Ended                            ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------                            Sept. 26,  Sept. 27,  Sept. 26,  Sept. 27,                              2010       2009       2010       2009                            ---------  ---------  ---------  --------- Net (loss) income (A)      $ (26,806) $   1,757  $ (58,676) $(168,707) Plus:  interest expense on  convertible subordinated  notes                            --         --         --         -- Less:  additional profit  sharing expense and  income tax provisions            --         --         --         --                            ---------  ---------  ---------  --------- Net (loss) income available  to common  shareholders (B)          $ (26,806) $   1,757  $ (58,676) $(168,707)                            =========  =========  =========  ========= Weighted average common  shares outstanding (C)       23,366     23,353     23,362     23,214 Dilutive potential  common shares                    --        150         --         --                            ---------  ---------  ---------  --------- Weighted-average common and  diluted shares  outstanding (D)              23,366     23,503     23,362     23,214                            =========  =========  =========  ========= Basic (loss) earnings per  share [(A)/(C)]           $   (1.15) $    0.08  $   (2.51) $   (7.27) Diluted (loss) earnings  per share [(B)/(D)]       $   (1.15) $    0.08  $   (2.51) $   (7.27)
CONTACT: Hutchinson Technology Inc.         Investor Contact:         Chuck Ives           320-587-1605         Media Contact:         Connie Pautz           320-587-1823

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