Western Digital (WDC)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

October 19, 2011 5:00 pm ET

Executives

Wolfgang U. Nickl - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

Timothy M. Leyden - Chief Operating Officer

John F. Coyne - Chief Executive Officer, President, Executive Director and Chairman of Executive Committee

Bob Blair -

Analysts

Keith F. Bachman - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

Benjamin A. Reitzes - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Richard Kugele - Needham & Company, LLC, Research Division

Kevin M. Hunt - Auriga USA LLC, Research Division

Katy Huberty - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Mark A Moskowitz - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Joe Yoo - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Ananda Baruah - Brean Murray, Carret & Co., LLC, Research Division

Sherri Scribner - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Aaron C. Rakers - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Jayson Noland - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Bill C. Shope - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Unknown Analyst -

Presentation

Operator

Good afternoon, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to Western Digital's First Quarter Financial Results for Fiscal Year 2012. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this call is being recorded. Now I will turn the call over to Mr. Bob Blair. You may begin.

Bob Blair

Thank you. To begin, I want to mention that we will be making forward-looking statements in our comments and in response to your questions concerning industry demand in the December quarter and the industry's ability to meet that demand. The impact for the flooding in Thailand on the industry and on our business on the December quarter and beyond, including our HDD capacity, our planned operations, recovery efforts and the costs and expenses incurred in connection with these efforts, and our ability to complete these recovery efforts. The expected completion and the timing of our planned acquisition of Hitachi GST, growth opportunities in the industry, our product offerings in the near-line enterprise market, OEM inventory levels and our financial results expectations for the December quarter, including revenue, gross margin, expenses, tax rate share count and loss per share.

These forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially, including those listed in our 10-K filed with the SEC on August 12, 2011. We undertake no obligation to update our forward-looking statements to reflect new information or events. And you should not assume later in the quarter that the comments we make today are still valid.

In addition, references will be made during this call to non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations of the differences between historical GAAP measures we provide during this call to the comparable GAAP financial measures that are included in the Investor information summary posted in the Investor Relations section of our website at westerndigital.com.

The forward-looking guidance we provide during this call excludes acquisition-related expenses that we expect to incur in connection with and following the planned acquisition of Hitachi to UST [ph], and unusual charges and expenses related to the flooding in Taiwan.

Because these acquisition-related and unusual expense items are not known to us at this time, we are unable to provide guidance for or a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures. The impact of these excluded items may cause the estimated non-GAAP financial measures to differ materially from the comparable GAAP financial measures. As a reminder, until our acquisition of HGST closes, WD and HGST remain independent companies, so we will not be taking any questions about HGST's business or financial performance. We ask that analysts limit their comments to a single question and one follow-up question.

I also want to note that copies of remarks from today's call will be available on the Investors section of WD's website immediately following the conclusion of this call. I would now turn the call over to President and Chief Executive Officer, John Coyne.

John F. Coyne

Thank you, Bob. Good afternoon and thank you for joining us. With me are COO, Tim Leyden; and CFO, Wolfgang Nickl. As you can imagine, the WD team has been consumed recently in dealing with the relentless flooding in Thailand and its significant impact on our employees, their families and our suppliers, as well as on the business infrastructure in the region. We are grateful that the WD employees in Thailand are safe at this time, although many of their lives and homes have been disrupted and damaged. This is a disaster of unprecedented scale, with over 317 fatalities so far reported, over 9 million people affected, 700,000 homes and 14,000 factories flooded and over 660,000 workers out of work. The overall impact to the people of Thailand is immeasurable and our hearts go out to them in these trying times.

Having addressed the safety of our people and put in place programs to continue supporting them in this crisis, we have now turned our focus and energies to maximizing our capability to meet our customers' needs in the near term and to return our operations to normal as soon as possible. Full recovery will be a multi-quarter challenge. We believe the unconstrained HDD demand for the December quarter is flat to slightly down from September quarter ship levels.

Having said that, due to the concentration of HDD supply chain factories in various industrial parks in the flooded area, it is apparent that the HDD industry will be constrained in meeting that demand. Since WD has greater direct manufacturing exposure to the flooded areas, we believe the impact on our business in the short term will be greater than to other HDD manufacturers. In their remarks, Tim will provide a summary of how we're dealing with a operations challenges presented by the flooding and Wolfgang will provide a current quarter outlook.

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