SanDisk Earnings: What to Expect Wednesday

SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK  ) will release its quarterly report on Wednesday, and investors have continued to be pleased with the memory giant's stock performance recently, sending the stock to levels not seen since the mid-2000s. Even as rivals Micron Technology (NASDAQ: MU  ) and Seagate Technology (NASDAQ: STX  ) have taken steps to claim their share of the booming flash-memory segment, SanDisk has worked hard to cement its place in the industry with its own offerings as well as a lucrative partnership with Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC  ) .

For decades, hard-disk drives survived as the key force behind mainstream technology storage. All of a sudden, though, big reductions in the cost of flash memory made it possible to use the faster storage alternative for a wider range of electronic devices, and SanDisk jumped on the opportunity to serve the rapidly growing market. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with SanDisk over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its report.


Source: SanDisk.

Stats on SanDisk

Analyst EPS Estimate

$1.57

Change From Year-Ago EPS

50%

Revenue Estimate

$1.70 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

10.6%

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

4

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

How fast can SanDisk earnings grow?
In recent months, analysts have gotten more optimistic about the prospects for SanDisk earnings, boosting their fourth-quarter estimates by $0.02 per share and their full-year 2014 projections by four times that amount. The stock has continued its bull run, rising 18% since mid-October.

The lion's share of SanDisk's stock gains came after its third-quarter earnings report, in which the memory company reported a 28% jump in revenue that led to a tripling in operating earnings. CEO Sanjay Mehrotra pointed to strong performance in the company's solid-state drive products for both consumer and enterprise use as helping to build momentum in SanDisk's growth. The results have allowed SanDisk to start paying a dividend and buy back more of its shares, helping to accelerate stock-price gains.

SanDisk's success has also hinged on smart strategic moves. Its acquisition of SMART Storage Systems last summer has already started producing results in bolstering enterprise solid-state drive sales, with the company expecting that it will be able to add new features and make its solid-state drives more reliable with better performance. Meanwhile, SanDisk's partnership with Western Digital to help the hard-disk specialist build hybrid solid-state drives has allowed Western Digital to compete better against Seagate. Moreover, with embedded memory, SanDisk has a strong presence both in high-end products like the iPhone 5s as well as mid- and lower-tier products that can use its iNAND flash memory.

But SanDisk can't declare total victory in the memory space just yet. Micron has risen sharply after completing its buyout of Elpida, which gave it a much bigger presence in selling to high-demand, high-margin customers. In part because of heightened competition, some analysts have been reluctant to project strong growth forward, also arguing that SanDisk might be losing some of its competitive advantage against Micron and Seagate.

In the SanDisk earnings report, watch closely to see the various sources of the company's growth. The holiday season should give investors a good sense of just how good a job SanDisk has done getting its memory into the most popular consumer electronics, but in the long run, its enterprise solid-state drive solutions could prove to be the most lucrative for the company.

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