WD restarts Thai hard disk factory

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WD restarts Thai hard disk factory

But shortages to go beyond March quarter.

Storage giant Western Digital (WD) has restarted hard disk production at one of its flooded Bangkok facilitates but estimates disk shortages will continue beyond March 2012. 

WD's Thai facility in the Bang Pa-in industrial estate, which has been submerged in six feet of water since October 15, restarted production on November 30, WD said in an update on Friday.

Another site in nearby Navanakorn remains under two feet of water and is expected to be pumped within the next week, clearing the way for refurbishment. 

WD did not say when production is expected to resume there.

WD and rival Seagate have estimated the industry only has the capacity to produce between 110 and 120 million hard drives in the December quarter, falling well short of the 170 million to 180 million units in demand by customers.  

Seagate's facilities were not directly impacted by the floods, however it has been affected through suppliers and estimates the industry will struggle to meet demand for "several quarters".  

The floods will cost WD between up to $US275 million, with $US50 million in flood related damages expected to be reported in its December quarter.

The short term upshot for the industry, Seagate points out, will be that the excess demand should put a stop on falling prices endemic to the hard disk maufacturing industry. 

The shortfall is expected to push PC prices up by between two to three per cent, while some external storage prices have already doubled

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