Business

Boise’s Micron will expand manufacturing to keep pace with rising sales. Here’s where

His U.S. visa was rejected three times. Now, he is the CEO of Micron.

Sanjay Mehrotra, co-founder of SanDisk, became the CEO of Micron Technology in May. Born in India, Mehrotra came to the US for higher education.
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Sanjay Mehrotra, co-founder of SanDisk, became the CEO of Micron Technology in May. Born in India, Mehrotra came to the US for higher education.

Micron Technology Inc. is on a tear, reporting record revenue and big profits Thursday for its latest quarter, confirming expectations of investors who have driven its stock price recently to the highest level in 18 years.

The Boise memory-chip manufacturer reported $7.4 billion in sales for the quarter that ended March 1, up 58 percent from $4.6 billion in the same quarter a year earlier. It reported $3.3 billion in net income, compared with $894 million a year earlier. The earnings amount to $2.67 per share, up from 77 cents a year ago.

At its current rapid sales-growth rate, Micron, which will turn 40 this fall, will boost its rank in the Fortune 500 roster of America’s top companies. It was ranked No. 226 in 2017 with $12.4 billion in sales. Sales total $25.9 billion for the last 12 months, more than McDonald’s, Qualcomm or Southwest Airlines. McDonald’s reported $22.8 billion in sales in its latest 12 months.

Micron is succeeding in shifting sales to higher-priced specialty products, and its sales for memory used in solid-state drives and graphics are setting records, said Sanjay Mehrotra, Micron’s president and CEO.

“Secular technology trends are driving robust demand for memory and storage, and Micron is well-positioned to address these growing opportunities,” he said in a news release.

Those trends include the rise of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, big data centers and smartphones that do more than ever. “The data market today is very different from the PC-dominated market of the past,” Mehrotra said on a conference call with stock analysts.

To meet demand and to accommodate the increasing complexity of its products, Mehrotra said Micron will expand its flash-memory manufacturing in Singapore with a new building, and will add to a dynamic random-access memory plant in Hiroshima, Japan. He announced no changes for Boise, where Micron conducts most of its research and development.

Sanjay Mehrotra mug
Sanjay Mehrotra Statesman file

Because Wall Street had expected the good news, its expectations were already baked into Micron’s share price. So the earnings report did little to move investors, and shares fell more than $2 in light after-hours trading late Thursday. Micron shares closed Thursday at $58.92 before the earnings announcement, down $2.15 on a day when stocks plunged on fears of a trade war.

Micron is Idaho’s biggest publicly traded company and the Treasure Valley’s largest for-profit employer, with about 6,800 workers on its Southeast Boise campus.

The latest financial report comes 10 months into the reign of Sanjay Mehrotra, the SanDisk cofounder who succeeded Mark Durcan as CEO last May.

The quarter brought other news: In December, prosecutors in Taiwan said two Micron employees took trade secrets they stole to a Chinese company that planned to share it with an emerging competitor in mainland China. In January, Micron and Intel Corp. said they would end their 12-year partnership to make flash memory.

This month, Micron and Harvard University settled Harvard’s 2016 lawsuit accusing Micron of using a technology invented at Harvard without a license.

Micron’s new chief financial officer, David Zinsner, who started last month, said he expects the current quarter’s revenue to be roughly the same as this quarter’s and profits to be even higher, with earnings per share around $2.83.

David Staats: 208-377-6417, @DavidStaats

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