Hutchinson Technology Incorporated (NASDAQ: HTCH) reports net sales of $70.3 million for its fiscal 2014 first quarter ended December 29, 2013, up 10% from net sales of $63.7 million in the preceding quarter. Suspension assembly shipments for the quarter totaled 115.7 million, up 13% from 102.6 million in the preceding quarter. Gross profit in the fiscal 2014 first quarter was $5.5 million, or 8% of net sales, compared with a gross loss of $400,000 in the preceding quarter.
Rick Penn, Hutchinson Technology’s president and chief executive officer, said first quarter gross profit benefited from the higher volume in the quarter and from improved manufacturing yields at the company’s Thailand assembly operation and in its components processes.
“We are making good progress in improving our operating performance and we’re encouraged by the stronger demand we saw in the quarter,” said Penn. He said suspension assembly demand for 2.5” mobile drives was particularly strong in the quarter and the company responded quickly to meet the higher than expected demand.
“We improved manufacturing yields at our Thailand assembly operation while increasing output there by nearly 20%,” said Penn. The Thailand plant accounted for more than half of the company’s assembly production in the first quarter and nearly 80% of its dual-stage actuated (DSA) suspension assembly volume. “We will continue to shift more assembly production to Thailand while maintaining our focus on further improving manufacturing yields and efficiencies in all of our operations,” said Penn. The company expects its Thailand operation will account for about 60% of second quarter assembly volume.