Micron sales could dive more than 50%, and more belt-tightening is expected before outlook improves

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Micron Technology Inc.’s revenue declines could worsen to more than 50% before inventory-saturated customers work though that product and boost sales in the second half of 2023, but before then the memory-chip maker is implementing some austerity measures.

Micron MU, +1.01% said it expects an adjusted loss of between 72 cents and 52 cents a share on revenue of $3.6 billion to $4 billion for the fiscal second quarter, with the midpoint 51% lower than last year’s second-quarter revenue total of $7.78 billion. Analysts had forecast an adjusted loss of 32 cents a share on revenue of $3.92 billion.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the memory-chip specialist disclosed that management plans to cut about 10% of its staff in 2023, “through a combination of voluntary attrition and personnel reductions.” About $30 million in restructuring costs are expected, all in the fiscal second quarter.

Along with headcount reductions, Micron said in 2023 it will also suspend share buybacks, productivity programs and company bonuses, and that executive salaries would be “cured” for the rest of the fiscal year. Sanjay Mehrotra, Micron’s chief executive, also told analysts after the release of results that he expected profitability to remain challenged through 2023.

Micron specializes in DRAM, or dynamic random access memory, the type of memory commonly used in PCs and servers, and NAND chips, which are the flash memory chips used in smaller devices like smartphones and USB drives.

Micron shares were down less than 1% after hours, following a 1% rise to close the regular session at $51.19. Micron shares are down 45% for the year compared with a 19% fall by the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.49% and a 32% drop by the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.54% and a 33% drop on the PHLX Semiconductor Index SOX, +2.36%.

Mehrotra said he expects DRAM growth to rise by about 10% and NAND to rise by around 20%. “For both years, demand in DRAM and NAND is well below historical trends and future expectations of growth largely due to reductions in the end demand in most markets, high inventories at customers, the impact of the macroeconomic environment and the regional factors in Europe and China,” Mehrotra said.

“But the largest impact to the profitability and financial outlook for us is the supply-demand balance, and the rate and pace of this improvement is going to be a function of aligning supply with demand, and we’re taking decisive actions on CapEx and utilization to address it,” Mark Murphy, Micron’s chief financial officer, told analysts on the call.

Data-center and cloud sales were considered relatively safe, but in another potentially developing crack, Mehrotra said the current environment showed some softness in cloud data-center demand, given tighter consumer spending.

“We do absolutely expect that once we get past the current macroeconomic environment and macroeconomic weakening, longer-term trends for cloud will remain strong,” Mehrotra said. “In terms of the current environment, yes, inventory adjustments and some impact of cloud and demand weakening as well. That’s impacting our overall data-center outlook.”

The CEO also told analysts he expects customers to be in a much better position in the burning off of their inventories by the middle of 2023.

“By mid-calendar ’23, we are projecting, even though we don’t have perfect visibility, but based on all of our discussions with our customers, we are projecting that inventory at customers will be in relatively healthier position by that time.”

“And that’s where we say that our second half of fiscal-year revenue will be greater than first half, and we would expect continued improvements beyond the second half as well,” the CEO said.

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