Tech

SK Hynix profit falls 69 percent in first quarter as chip prices remain weak

Key Points
  • The world's second-biggest memory chip maker behind Samsung Electronics said January-March profit was 1.4 trillion won ($1.21 billion).
  • SK Hynix said it expected demand for DRAM chips to recover later this year, with new smartphones adopting high-density chips.
An SK Hynix 8GB DDR3L memory chip.
SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

South Korea's SK Hynix posted a 69 percent drop in first-quarter operating profit on Thursday, marking its smallest quarterly profit since late 2016 as memory chip prices remain weak.

The company said it expected demand for DRAM chips to recover later this year, with new smartphones adopting high-density chips.

The world's second-biggest memory chip maker behind Samsung Electronics said January-March profit was 1.4 trillion won ($1.21 billion).

That was in line with a 1.4 trillion won estimate from analysts, according to Refinitiv SmartEstimate. SmartEstimates give more weight to recent estimates by analysts who are more consistently accurate.

Samsung reported earlier this month it was heading for its lowest quarterly profit in more than two years, with a glut in memory chips being a key reason for margins being hit. 

Prices for DRAM chips, which help devices perform multiple tasks, declined over 20 percent in the first quarter from a quarter ago, and are expected to fall by up to 20 percent in the second quarter, according to industry tracker DRAMeXchange.

Prices for NAND chips, which provide long-term data storage, have lost 20 percent in the first quarter, RAMeXchange says.

SK Hynix's revenue fell 22 percent from a year earlier to 6.8 trillion won.

"We will focus on reducing raw material cost and securing competitiveness in the market where memory demand uncertainty and hope for demand recovery co-exists," the company said in a statement.