Micron Technology Inc.’s sharply rising revenues and profits are helping the company move ahead with projects at its Boise campus that could spell more jobs for the memory-chip maker.
“From an absolute dollar standpoint, we are generating significant cash every quarter,” Mark Durcan, Micron’s CEO, told the Idaho Statesman. “That is important to us, because we have big investments we have to make in order to move technology forward with all the new products we need for the future.”
Micron reported one of its best quarters in years Thursday. Revenues were $4.65 billion in the quarter ending March 2, up 58 percent from the same quarter in 2016. Profits were $894 million, more than reversing a $97 million loss in the 2016 quarter.
Micron’s report came six weeks after the company announced that Durcan, 55, will retire once the board finds a successor. Durcan said this is a good time to leave, because the company is in a strong position. On a conference call with analysts, he reiterated that he will stay “fully committed” to the company until he leaves.
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Durcan told the Statesman he expects to stay in Boise after retiring. He has accepted a position on the St. Luke’s Health System’s board of directors.
“The medical industry is a fascinating industry,” Durcan said. “Lots of problems and dynamics to think about. I’ll have a lot to learn.”
Meanwhile, Micron is executing well, said Mike Howard, a semiconductor analyst in Boise with IHS iSuppli and a former Micron employee. It is helped by a robust memory-chip market that could last an additional 18 months, he said.
“This is what should happen in a rising market,” Howard said.
The company is finishing the first phase of its $200 million research and development expansion in Boise and ramping up some other programs.
“There will be people that need to run those tools and develop those processes,” Durcan said. “We’re not in a position to be forecasting head count growth here, but I think it is fair to say that the continued investment here in the Boise campus is going to drive a continued employment — also, probably an upgrade in the type of jobs we have.”
The company employs about 6,000 people in Idaho.
Micron’s hefty earnings do not suggest that the company has somehow freed itself from the industry’s notorious boom-and-bust cycles, but Durcan thinks they are becoming less extreme.
“Those swings are getting smaller as we move through time,” he said.
One reason: Micron’s end markets are expanding rapidly.
“These days, pretty much anything that has a battery or a plugs into the wall has memory in it, whether it is your car, or your refrigerator or your cell phone or your server,” he said.
Micron stock closed at $26.47, up at 1.57 percent, before the earnings were announced. The stock reached $29.19, up 10.2 percent, in after-hours trading.