HDD makers slash shipment figures, though prices could drop soon

All four major hard disk drive manufacturers saw operations hindered by recent flooding in Thailand. Factories were waterlogged, and the component supply chain was disrupted. A report from insider news site DigiTimes this week shed some light on just how bad the companies were hit.

HDD makers slash shipment figures, though prices could drop soon

Speaking to an anonymous insider at Seagate’s Taiwan branch, DigiTimes learned the company cut its fourth quarter shipment forecast to between 41 and 45 million. Last quarter, Seagate shipped approximately 50 million HDDs. Its rival wasn’t as lucky.

According to the site’s sources, Western Digital is expected to ship around 24 million HDDs, down from last quarter’s 58 million. The huge drop-off will cost the company its number one spot.

Hitachi GST and Toshiba will also see their shipments suffer, added DigiTimes.

The affected companies may not fully recover until 2012, said the IT site. Seagate CEO Stephen Luczo agreed, telling Bloomberg, “This is going to take a lot longer than people are assuming, until the end of 2012 at least. And by then, demand will have gone up.”

The projected shortfall has already inflated prices. Analysis firm IHS found that prices grew at least 10 percent in recent weeks. However, that may change again just as quickly.

DigiTimes found that a reduced demand for PC HDDs, coupled with retailers’ stockpiled inventories, will drop prices back down by December.