SEOUL, - SK hynix Inc. said Thursday it posted losses for the fourth consecutive quarter in the third quarter of this year but recovering demand for high-performance products helped narrow its operating deficit.
The world's second-largest memory chip maker said in a regulatory filing its operating losses amounted to 1.79 trillion won (US$1.32 billion) for the July-September period on a consolidated basis, compared with a profit of 1.67 trillion won a year ago.
Net losses came to 2.18 trillion won, plunging from a net profit of 1.1 trillion won a year earlier. Sales fell 17.5 percent to 9.06 trillion won.
The loss was 74.3 percent higher than the average estimate, according to a survey by Yonhap Infomax, the financial data firm of Yonhap News Agency.
SK hynix said sales of its flagship products, including the AI memory HBM3 and high-capacity mobile DRAM, led to a 24 percent on-quarter increase in sales and a 38 percent decrease in operating loss.
"As market demand for our high-performance memory products continued to grow, our operating performance has steadily improved after hitting the bottom in the first quarter," the company said in a statement.
"Most importantly, our D-RAM business, which swung to the red in the first quarter of this year, turned back to profitability after two quarters."
The South Korean chipmaker swung to a deficit in the fourth quarter last year for the first time since the third quarter of 2012, as its customers halted new orders to reduce their excessive inventories amid slow consumer demand.
SK hynix makes most of its profits from selling memory chips. But the macroeconomic woes, including the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, inflation and rising interest rates, led consumers to tighten their spending on electronics that need such semiconductors.
In the coming quarters, the company said it will focus on high-performance products like high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips and fifth-generation DDR5 chips to meet rising demand from the AI-led chip boom.
"Next year's facility investment will increase," the company said in an earnings call. "Next year, we will focus more on transforming our facilities than on expanding our capacity."
SK Hynix earlier announced its plans to reduce its investment by slightly more than half this year from last year's 19 trillion won, citing a precipitous fall in demand.
But it said the recovery in investment and utilization will be gradual in line with market conditions, and it will take time for its production to reach the pre-cutback level in the fourth quarter of 2022.
For the NAND flash memory industry, which has been suffering from mounting inventories, the company said it will keep reducing sales of NAND products and expected their shipments to fall 10 percent on-quarter in the next quarter.
Shares of SK hynix tumbled 5.88 percent to close at 120,000 won Thursday, underperforming the broader Korea Composite Stock Price Index's 2.71 percent fall. The earnings report was released before the market opened.
Source: Yonhap News Agency