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Micron Technology loses $88.3 million in quarter

Micron Technology Inc. said Thursday that losses at Micron Electronics' discontinued PC operations and Web-hosting operations led to the company posting a net loss of $88.3 million in the quarter ended March 1.

The Boise-based company has a huge plant in Lehi that someday is expected to manufacture silicon wafers to be used in computer memory chips. A downturn in the markets has postponed that work. Currently, the 860 workers there test chips.

The net loss equates to 15 cents per diluted share. In the year-ago period, the company had net income of $161.3 million, or 29 cents per share.

A consensus of Wall Street industry analysts had expected the company to earn 3 cents per share in the second quarter.

For the six months ended March 1, the company had net income of $263.9 million, or 44 cents per diluted share, compared with income of $502.6 million, or 89 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

The company noted that its semiconductor operations were slightly profitable for the quarter, with net sales of $1 billion. But the figure was down from a year ago, when it was $1.15 billion.

The net loss in the second quarter includes the effects of the net loss from Micron Electronics' discontinued PC operations of $84 million and the net loss from Micron Electronics' continuing Web-hosting operation.

Micron Technology owns a 61 percent interest in Micron Electronics, which has announced it will discontinue its PC business and merge with Web-hosting company Interland Inc. After the merger, Micron Technology will own about 40 percent of the combined company.

Micron Technology said net losses from continuing operations for the second quarter totaled $4.1 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with net income from continuing operations of $168.8 million, or 30 cents per share, a year ago.

Fred Waddel, director of sales for the computing and consumer group, said memory demand has been rising lately. "It's still very hard to get a sense of the overall PC demand, but for us, we do know our volume has gone up . . . over the past six weeks in a pretty substantial amount."

Micron's stock price was $41.16 early today, down $4.09 from Thursday's close. In the past year, the price has ranged from $28 to $97.50.