Western Digital doubles last year's profits

Western Digital has released the financial results for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2012, and it seems the hard drive maker has rebounded quite nicely from the Thailand flooding that put much of its manufacturing capacity underwater less than a year ago. WD raked in $4.7 billion for the quarter and $12.5 billion for its 2012 fiscal year, both substantial increases over the same periods in 2011. Net income was up, too. The company's profits hit $1.6 billion for the year, more than doubling 2011's net income.

Of course, Western Digital's financial results now include more than just the sale of WD-branded products. Hitachi's Storage division, which was acquired recently by WD, has been contributing to the bottom line since March 8. I suspect Hitachi is responsible for the more than doubling of enterprise-class drive shipments WD enjoyed in the past quarter.

Looking at the numbers (PDF), it's interesting to note that WD has shipped more notebook drives than desktop models for two consecutive quarters. That comes after several years of desktop drives leading notebooks. The two categories weren't even that close last quarter. WD shipped 21.2 million desktop drives and 32.8 million notebook models. There hasn't been such a large delta between those two categories for years.

Another notable figure is WD's gross margin, which has been over 30% for three quarters, or about since the Thailand flooding. In the first quarter of the 2012 fiscal year and through the entirety of 2011, WD's gross margin hovered around just 20%. In fact, if you look at the financial results dating back to 2009, WD's gross margin never exceeded 26%. No wonder folks are miffed hard drive warranties have been slashed and prices remain above pre-flood levels.

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