SK hynix swings to profit on rising demand for premium chips

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Seoul, Jan 25 (IANS) SK hynix said on Thursday it swung to a profit in the fourth quarter of last year on the back of rising demand for premium memory chip products.

The world’s second-largest memory chipmaker posted an operating profit of 346 billion won ($259.4 million) for the October-December period, compared with a loss of 1.91 trillion won a year ago, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Its net loss came to 1.37 trillion won, narrowing from a deficit of 3.7 trillion won a year earlier. Sales rose 47.4 percent on-year to 11.3 trillion won, reports Yonhap news agency.

It is the first quarterly operating profit since the fourth quarter of 2022, when SK hynix marked the first quarterly operating loss since the third quarter of 2012.

“We recorded the first quarterly profit in a year following efforts to focus on profitability,” SK hynix said in a statement, adding that increasing demand for AI server and mobile applications has helped improve the overall memory market conditions in the last quarter of 2023.

In particular, sales of its flagship products, including the AI memory HBM3 and high-capacity mobile DRAM, increased by more than four and five times, respectively, compared with a year earlier.

SK hynix is one of the key providers of HBM3 chips, the latest fourth-generation product of the high bandwidth memory (HBM), to the U.S. tech company Nvidia Corp.

The company said it will focus on the mass production of the upcoming fifth-generation HBM3E chips and the development of HBM4 this year.

The HBM3E is currently recognized as the world’s best-performing memory product and its mass production is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2024.

The chipmaker said it will also increase supply of high-performance, high-capacity DRAM products, such as DDR5 and LPDDR5T, to server and mobile markets in a timely manner in a bid to meet increasing demand.

But the company said it is considering streamlining investment and costs for the NAND business, where a recovery is relatively slow.

For all of 2023, SK hynix reported a net loss of 9.13 trillion won, turning from a profit of 2.24 trillion won a year earlier.

SK hynix said it will make constant efforts to improve profitability and efficiency through sales of value-added products in 2024.



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