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About Western Digital Corporation

Western Digital is one of the largest independent makers of storage devices for the increasing amounts of data the world produces. The company makes hard-disk drives (HDDs), which record, store, and recall volumes of data, and fast-growing solid-state drives (SSDs), known as flash drives, used in many mobile devices. Drives for PCs account for a major portion of Western Digital's sales, although the company also makes devices used in servers, cloud computing data centers, and home entertainment products such as set-top boxes and video game consoles as well as mobile phones. The company sells to manufacturers, retailers, and distributors and generates more than half of sales from the Asia/Pacific region.

Operations

Western Digital reports its sales in terms of end markets. The company's biggest market, nearly 50% of sales, is client devices such as PCs, smartphones, gaming gadgets, and security equipment. Data center devices, capacity and performance enterprise HDDs, enterprise SSDs, data center software, and systems, account for about 30% of sales, and client solutions, which are removable products, hard drive content devices, and flash content devices, generate about 20% of sales.

The company markets its products primarily under the HGST, SanDisk, and WD brands. 

Sales of HDD products account for about 55% of revenue and flash-based products account for the rest.

Geographic Reach

Western Digital's largest market is Asia, where most electronics are produced. China alone accounts for about a quarter of sales and Hong Kong accounts for about 20%. The US supplies about 20% of revenue, while the EMEA region accounts for less 20%.

Western Digital has manufacturing facilities in the US, as well as in China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand; it has sales offices worldwide. The company's research and development facilities are in the US, Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Israel.

Sales and Marketing

Western Digital sells to OEMs, as well as through distributors and retailers. The company's 10 biggest customers account for more than 45% of revenue. The company relies heavily on two customers: Dell Technologies and Huawei, which accounts for about 15% and 10%, respectively, of Western Digital's accounts receivable.

Financial Performance

Western Digital's revenue has had a bumpy path over the past five years, capped by a steep decline in 2019 from 2018.

The company's sales fell 20% to $16.5 billion in 2019 (ended June), down about $4 billion from 2018 due to lower average selling prices per gigabyte for flash-based products and lower sales of HDD products. Western Digital saw decreased sales in all its operating units and geographic markets.

Western Digital posted a loss of $724 million in 2019 compared to a profit of $675 million in 2018. While the company had lower costs in 2018, they were higher as a percentage of revenue than in 2018, resulting in the net loss.

The company had about $3.4 billion in cash and equivalents in 2018 compared to $5 billion the year before. In 2019, cash from operations generated $1.5 billion, while investing and financing activities used $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively.

Western Digital has nearly $10.7 billion in debt in 2019, an amount that could have a negative impact on its liquidity, restrict its operations and ability to react to business changes, and increase its vulnerability to industry and economic slowdowns. The company still had room to borrow about $2.25 billion under its revolving credit facility.

 

Strategy

The world is producing increasing amounts of data and Western Digital provides places to store it. The company has released a 14 terabyte (TB) drive, a new industry standard, and has 16 TB and 18 TB drives on the way.

Western Digital's sales slumped in 2019 (ended June) on lower prices and decreased shipments. The company was affected by a power outage at its joint plant with Toshiba that reduced production. The company also lost sales to telecom company Huawei because of the US government's reluctance to sell US technology to the Chinese company. But sales to Huawei resumed with a government clearance.

The company is near reaching parity of revenue produced by its HDD devices and its flash-based devices. In 2018 and 2019, flash drives accounted for about 48% of revenue, up from about 43% in 2017. In 2019, Western Digital and partner Toshiba agreed to expand their joint production capacity to accommodate the transition to 3D flash technologies. In the meantime, Western Digital continues to streamline its HDD manufacturing footprint.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Western Digital has long used acquisitions to add new product lines and extend its geographic reach.

In 2019 Western Digital acquired Kazan Networks, a provider of technology for data centers, to expand its data infrastructure offerings. Kazan's technologies widened Western Digital's products for disaggregated data infrastructure and helped speed its use of non-volatile memory express (NVMe) platforms.

In 2017 Western Digital made two deals, acquiring UpThere, a developer of cloud storage systems, and Tegile Systems, a maker of flash storage, announcing the deals of the same day. UpThere makes apps for storing and accessing date in the cloud and making it available from multiple devices and operating systems. With Tegile, Western Digital extends its reach into enterprise data storage. Tegile's IntelliFlash products offer quick access to match Western Digital's dig data programs. Western Digital also gains 1,700 new customers from the deal.

Western Digital Corporation

5601 Great Oaks Pkwy
San Jose, CA 95119-1003
Phone: 1 (408) 717-6000

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: WDC
Stock Exchange: , NASDAQ
President and COO: Michael D. Cordano
Chairman: Matthew E. Massengill
President and CEO: Stephen D. Milligan
Employees (This Location): 1,158
Employees (All Locations): 61,800

Major Office Locations

San Jose, CA

Other Locations

Chandler, AZ
Fremont, CA
Irvine, CA
Milpitas, CA
San Jose, CA
Sunnyvale, CA
Longmont, CO
Boca Raton, FL
Chicago, IL
Rochester, MN
Bellevue, NE
Princeton, NJ
Cleveland, OH
Austin, TX
Houston, TX
Gladstone, VA
Herndon, VA
Bengaluru, India
Odawara, Japan
Shinagawa-Ku, Japan
Yokkaichi, Japan
Yokohama, Japan