International Sales Credited : Western Digital’s Profits for Quarter Up Sharply

Times Staff Writer

Crediting strong international sales of its computer parts and a growing acceptance of its new retail computer products, Western Digital Corp. of Irvine on Wednesday reported third-quarter profits of $6.4 million, slightly more than double the $3.1 million posted last year.

Sales for the period ended March 29 were a record $71 million, up 74% from the $40.7 million recorded in the prior year.

President and chief executive Roger Johnson attributed the company’s record performance to expanding foreign sales of its electronic components and a strong market for its new retail products for the desk-top, or personal, computers.

Specifically, Johnson said international sales accounted for 35% of the company’s revenue in the most recent quarter, contrasted with 13% a year ago.


Johnson also said retail “add-on” products for the desk top computer, all of which were introduced within the last year, accounted for another 35% of the company’s revenue.

The additional business from foreign and retail accounts, Johnson said, allowed Western Digital to operate its factories at greater efficiency levels, thus increasing the company’s profit margins by about 2%.

Johnson said the latest report offered yet more evidence of the company’s progress in the nine months following one of its worst quarters on record. In the final quarter of the 1985 fiscal year, the company lost $13.4 million, causing a full-year loss of $4.6 million.

Johnson said fiscal 1986 estimates for the company call for total revenues of about $265 million, about 50% higher than those of the previous year. He declined to reveal profit estimates.


Although the company has enjoyed sales growth of 50% per year since 1982, Johnson said the pace may be difficult to maintain. “But the markets we serve are all strong, and if we have the right products, there’s no reason we shouldn’t approximate that rate.”

For the first nine months of the 1986 fiscal year, the company posted profits of $13.8 million, up 58% from the $8.7 million of a year ago. Revenues for the period were $198 million, up 68% from the $117.5 million of the prior year.

Johnson said the company, which has been steadily decreasing its reliance on IBM as a customer, did about 17% of its third-quarter business with the giant computer maker. About 15 months ago, IBM purchases accounted for 50% of Western Digital’s revenues.