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Cramer sees potential explosion in earnings

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

The financial crisis might not have been all bad. Jim Cramer thinks it might be the driving reason behind why a certain company's earnings could absolutely explode.

The company is Micron, and Cramer knows that since it first came public in 1984 until approximately 2007, Micron's earnings were always subject to the fits and starts of the DRAM market.

However, this time around, he thinks circumstances could be different.

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"DRAM is short for Dynamic Random Access Memory chips," Cramer said. "It accounts for 70 percent of Micron's sales. It's found in pretty much every personal computer, and the DRAM business has had a terrible reputation as a boom and bust industry."

Largely that was because, for decades, there were a large number of DRAM makers, and when demand picked up suppliers increased capacity. In the short term, profits and earnings soared, however, over the long term, demand waned and the resulting oversupply forced prices much lower, which, in turn hit profits and earnings.

"In 1995, Micron's stock went from $9 to $47 and then right back to $8. Something similar happened in 2000 when Micron went from $29 to $97, before imploding back to $6," Cramer said.

However, because of the financial crisis and the resulting aftermath, the dynamics in the industry have changed substantially; there's been extensive consolidation. Companies either merged to survive or they went out of business. "Effectively, the industry is now an oligopoly of three players: No. 1, Samsung; the new No. 2, Micron; and No. 3, Hynix," Cramer said.

And Cramer says none of these players has chosen to increase capacity, substantially.

Now, with the demand for PCs currently showing signs of improvement as compared to last year, Cramer thinks DRAM makers such as Micron are in the sweet spot. He believes the industry will keep supply constant, which should push prices higher. "Meanwhile, the costs of making the chips are coming down," he added. "Ultimately that's a recipe for a potential explosion in earnings."

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That's not to say a DRAM maker won't add capacity at some future time and kill the margins. But for the time being, Cramer doesn't think it's likely. "The financial crisis and Great Recession changed the industry. Right now executives are scared to expand too much."

And without expansion, prices of DRAM should remain constant while costs come down; all told that should be a good thing for the bottom line at Micron.

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