Updated from 4:39 p.m. EDT
Investors bid up shares of
late Wednesday after the disk drive maker announced a widely expected layoff amounting to 7% of its payroll of 41,000.
The staff reduction comes as part of a newly-announced plan to reduce the company's annual operating costs by $150 million. Seagate will take a related charge of $50 million in the June quarter.
In after-hours trading, the stock was recently up 20 cents, or 1.6%, to $12.41. In regular hours Wednesday, Seagate fell 47 cents, or 3.7%, to $12.21.
After the bell, executives said the company's June quarter has so far shaped up according to the usual season patterns, but didn't offer formal sales or earnings guidance. Wednesday's commentary was scant on details, in part because about half of Seagate's second-quarter business typically occurs in the final month of June.
Analysts are expecting the company to show a one-penny profit on revenue of $1.38 billion in the June quarter, according to Thomson First Call. But there's been increasing speculation that Seagate could fall into the red for the period.
Earlier Wednesday, Merrill Lynch analyst Shebly Seyrafi, who has a sell rating on the stock, lowered his EPS estimate from breakeven to a loss of 4 cents, citing slightly weaker demand in Europe and softness in Seagate's desktop business, among other factors.
In a press release issued after the close Wednesday, Seagate said its profitability hinges on whether it will be able to deliver strong unit shipments in the month of June and whether prices on its disk drives are favorable in the month.
Pressed to comment further, CEO Steve Luczo noted on a postclose conference call that Wall Street consensus seemed to be shifting toward assuming a loss, but he left open the possibility that the company will post a profit excluding restructuring charges. "We believe we can steer a path to profitability if
the month of June plays out normally. That doesn't mean great, just a normal June, which is usually a tough quarter," Luczo added.
In other details, Seagate said demand for business and mobile storage drives is shaping up as expected, though personal storage is a little lower than anticipated. It acknowledged its market share could fall by a few percentage points in mobile storage, however. That business has seen more aggressive pricing than the company initially expected.