Micron Technology Inc., the largest U.S. maker of memory chips, predicted profit and sales, helped by improving prices for semiconductors used in computers as demand for those devices picks up. Micron forecast first-quarter adjusted profit of 13-21 cents per share. It would represent the company's first profit in three quarters.
Micron, which manufactures DRAM chips used in PCs and NAND flash memory chips widely used in smartphones, has enjoyed a recovery in the last six months amid signs of improvement in the market.
"We are seeing improving market conditions in terms of both slowing supply growth and improving demand across a number of key segments," Micron CEO Mark Durcan said.
With DRAM prices rebounding to 7 month highs, Micron is benefiting as the supply glut in the market has dried up following aggressive cut backs in production amid signs of a bounce back in demand.
Prices of both DRAM and NAND chips are expected to rise in the fourth quarter, according to research firm TrendForce, with DRAM prices anticipated to rise over 10 percent from the previous quarter.
The company is trying to upgrade its manufacturing to make it as efficient as larger rivals Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Semiconductor and improve profitability.
The net loss attributable to company's shareholders was $170 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a profit of $471 million, or 42 cents per share, a year earlier.
Micron's net sales fell 10.6 percent to $3.22 billion in the fourth quarter.