Micron to supply fewer memory chips in 2023, plans fresh capex cuts
(Reuters) -Micron Technology Inc said on Wednesday it would reduce memory chip supply and make more cuts to its capital spending plan, as the semiconductor firm struggles to clear excess inventory due to a slump in demand.
Shares of the company fell 5.8% to $59.44 in afternoon trading.
Micron was the first major chipmaker to sound an alarm about falling demand for personal computers and smartphones earlier this year in the face of decades-high inflation.
Chipmakers and electronics companies, which had been preparing for the pandemic-led demand surge to sustain and had for long struggled with supply constraints, soon found themselves with overstocked inventory.
The broader weakness seeped throughout the industry, and is now affecting all end-markets from personal electronics to data centers to industrial. The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index has declined over 31% so far this year.
"In order to significantly improve total inventory ... DRAM bit supply will need to shrink and NAND bit supply growth will need to be significantly lower than previous estimates," the company said.
Widespread supply and capex cuts typically denote a bottom for the memory industry and is a good sign, Wedbush Securities analyst Matt Bryson wrote in a note on Wednesday.
But he said there is potential for a longer demand trough that would likely weigh on the broader technology space.
Micron said it is reducing DRAM and NAND wafer starts - or the initial process in semiconductor production - by about 20% compared with the fourth quarter that ended on Sept. 1.
For 2023, the company expects its year-on-year bit supply growth to be negative for DRAM and in the single-digit percentage range for NAND.
Micron's outlook is likely "weighing on the perception that component suppliers/semi vendors have already baked adverse conditions into their outlooks, effectively derisking the stocks," Bryson said.
(Reporting by Eva Mathews and Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee and Chavi Mehta; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Sriraj Kalluvila and Maju Samuel)