HUTCHINSON (Dow Jones/AP) -- Hutchinson Technology Inc. said late Monday it swung to a fiscal fourth-quarter profit amid a hefty jump in sales. The maker of suspension assemblies for computer disk drives also said it would easily beat fiscal first-quarter estimates.
Hutchinson said net income came to $6.1 million, or 24 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $32.6 million, or $1.30 a share, in the year-earlier period.
The mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial was for earnings of 19 cents a share.
Revenue increased 15 percent to $109.1 million from $95.1 million a year earlier.
Hutchinson said its current fourth-quarter results included a pretax charge of $1.3 million, or 4 cents a share, related to the prepayment of about $26.6 million in senior notes.
The net loss for the 2001 period included a pretax charge to earnings of $25,511,000, or 87 cents a diluted share, related to write-downs of certain assets and severance costs. Excluding this charge, the company said it would have reported a net loss of $10,885,000, or 43 cents a diluted share.
For the first quarter, Hutchinson expects to earn between $14 million and $18 million, or 50 cents to 65 cents a share. The mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial is for earnings of 17 cents a share.
Sales for the first quarter are expected to reach $125 million to $135 million.
In last year's first quarter, the company earned 19 cents a share on sales of $92.7 million.
Wayne M. Fortun, Hutchinson Technology's president and chief executive officer, said the company's fourth-quarter performance benefited from an increase in suspension-assembly shipments resulting primarily from market-share gains.
"Our shipment volumes increased steadily in each quarter this year despite an industry-wide decline in suspension assembly demand compared with the prior year," Fortun said in a prepared statement.
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