When it comes to data storage, Western Digital has drive and more than a splash of flash. The company is one of the largest independent makers of hard-disk drives (HDDs), which record, store, and recall volumes of data. It is also active in the fast-growing area of solid-state drives (SSDs). Drives for PCs account for a major portion of Western Digital's sales, although the company also makes devices used in servers, cloud computing data centers, and home entertainment products such as set-top boxes and video game consoles. The company sells to manufacturers and through retailers and distributors. It generates more than half its sales from the Asia/Pacific region.
Western Digital reports its sales in terms of end markets. The company’s biggest market, nearly 50% of sales, is client devices such as PCs, smartphones, gaming gadgets, and security equipment. Data center devices, high-capacity enterprise HDDs and high-performance enterprise SSDs, data center software and systems, account for about 30% of sales, and client solutions, which are external memory such as USB flash drives and wireless drives, generate about 20% of sales.
Western Digital’s largest market is Asia (which represents more than half of sales, including more than 20% in China and about 20% in Hong Kong). The US is Western Digital's second biggest market, accounting for about 20% of revenue. The EMEA region accounts for less 20%.
Western Digital has manufacturing facilities in the US, as well as in China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand; it has sales offices worldwide. Its research and development facilities are in the US, Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Israel.
Sales and Marketing
Western Digital sells to OEMs, as well as through distributors and retailers. The company’s 10 biggest customers account for more than 40% of revenue. Two customers, Apple Inc. and Dell Technologies, each account for more than 10% of Western Digital’s accounts receivable.
Western Digital added a second year of revenue growth in 2018 (ended June) after ending a three-year revenue decline in 2017 with a 47% increase. Revenue rose 8% to $20.6 billion in 2018, a $1.5 billion increase from the previous year. Net income grew a robust 70% in 2018 from 2017, outpacing the 64% profit increase in 2017 from 2016.
Sales increased across Western Digital’s segments in 2018 from 2017, led by a 6% increase in Client Devices (half of the company’s revenue) from growth in embedded flash products. Sales rose 10% in Data Center Devices and Solutions and Client Solutions.
Profit jumped $675 million in 2018 from $497 million in 2017 on higher revenue and reduced research and development expenses while absorbing about a $1 billion increase in income taxes due to the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
Western Digital’s cash and equivalents dropped to $5 billion 2018, about $1.3 billion less than it had in 2017. Cash from operation was $4.2 billion in 2018 while the company used about $1.6 billion in investing activities and $3.9 billion in investing activities. In 2018, the company reduced the aggregate principal of its debt by $1.98 billion and reduced its interest cost.
Western Digital took steps to reduce costs and consolidate hard disk drive operation, closing a manufacturing facility in Malaysia and putting its HDD operations into Thailand. The process should be completed by the end of its 2019 fiscal year (June) and cost about $160 million.
With extensive operations in Asia, Western Digital is susceptible to tariffs set in the course of trade disputes between the US and China. Tariffs could prompt customers may delay or reduce purchases and they could lead to a deterioration in economic conditions.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Western Digital has long used acquisitions to add new product lines and extend its geographic reach.
In 2017 Western Digital made two deals in short order, acquiring UpThere, a developer of cloud storage systems, and Tegile Systems, a maker of flash storage, announcing the deals of the same day. UpThere makes apps for storing and accessing date in the cloud and making it available from multiple devices and operating systems. With Tegile, Western Digital extends its reach into enterprise data storage. Tegile's IntelliFlash products offer quick access to match Western Digital's dig data programs. Western Digital also gains 1,700 new customers from the deal.
5601 GREAT OAKS PKWY
San Jose, CA 95119-1003
Phone: 1 (408) 717-6000
Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: WDC
Stock Exchange: , NASDAQ
EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer: Jacqueline M. DeMaria
Chairman: Matthew E. Massengill
President and CEO: Stephen D. Milligan
Employees (This Location): 1,158
Employees (All Locations): 71,600
San Jose, CA
San Jose, CA
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