Businesses just keep on needing more DRAM and NAND chips. Quarterly revenues at memory and flash chip maker Micron climbed to the second highest level ever in its latest quarter, with record flash revenues. The demand environment is tremendous and the outlook rosy. Happy days.
Revenues in Micron’s Q4 FY2021, ended September 2, were $8.27 billion, up 36.6 per cent on a year ago, with profits of $2.7 billion, up a thumping 175 per cent on the previous year. Full FY2021 revenues were $27.7 billion, 29.3 per cent higher than FY2020 revenues, with profits of $5.86 billion, 118 per cent more than the prior year.
Micron CEO and President Sanjay Mehrotra’s results statement read: ”Micron’s outstanding fourth quarter execution capped a year of several key milestones. In fiscal 2021, we established DRAM and NAND technology leadership, drove record revenues across multiple markets, and initiated a quarterly dividend. The demand outlook for 2022 is strong, and Micron is delivering innovative solutions to our customers, fueling our long-term growth.”
DRAM represented 74 per cent of Micron’s revenues in the quarter, up 39.9 per cent annually. NAND was 24 per cent of total revenues and increased at a lower rate: 29 per cent year-on-year. However there was record NAND revenue in the quarter.
Micron has four business units, one of which, the embedded unit, saw stellar growth of 108 per cent year-on-year as this table shows:
In his prepared remarks Mehrotra said: “We achieved our highest-ever mobile revenue, driven by all-time-high managed NAND revenue and multichip package (MCP) mix. Our embedded business had a tremendous record-breaking year, with auto and industrial businesses both at substantial new highs. And our Crucial-branded consumer business and overall QLC mix in NAND all hit records in fiscal 2021.”
Financial summary for the quarter:
- Gross margin — 47.9 per cent
- Cash flow from operations — $3.9B
- Free cash flow — $1.9B
- Liquidity — $13B
- Cash minus debt — $3.7B (there’s a rock solid balance sheet here)
- Diluted earnings per share — $2.42 vs $1.08 a year ago
The DRAM and NAND technology leadership claims refer to Micron’s 1α (1-alpha) DRAM and 176-layer NAND being industry’s most advanced nodes in high-volume production. Mehrotra said: “We believe we are several quarters ahead of the industry in deployment of these process technologies.”
On the SSD front: ”We are … enhancing our NVMe SSD portfolio and will soon introduce PCIe Gen-4 datacentre SSDs with Micron-designed controllers and leveraging the full benefit of vertical integration.” It has already qualified 176-layer Gen-4 NVMe client SSDs with several PC OEMs.
In general: “Datacentre has become the largest market for memory and storage, driven by the rapid growth in cloud.” The other end-user markets — PC, graphics, mobile, auto and industrial — all exhibited revenue growth for Micron.
Mehrotra made general comments about technology developments: “We … expect to increase FY22 R&D investment by approximately 15 per cent from FY2021 to deliver bold product and technology innovations designed to fuel the data economy, as well as to expand our portfolio to capitalise on opportunities such as high-bandwidth memory and Compute Express Link (CXL) solutions.”
Micron withdrew from the 3D XPoint storage-class memory market earlier this year, saying that it was interested in developing new storage-class memory technologies accessed across the CXL interconnect. Perhaps this is an area for bold product innovation.
The guidance for its next quarter, Q1 in FY2022, is for revenues of $7.65 billion plus/minus $200 million. This would be a 32.5 per cent rise year-on-year at the mid-point and represent Micron’s highest-ever quarterly revenue.
Micron is also planning for record revenues in the full fiscal 2022 year, as there is strong demand across the board for its products.