Micron sees first-quarter operating expenses above forecast, shares fall

FILE PHOTO: Micron Technology's logo is seen on the U.S. chipmaker's offices in Shanghai, China, May 25, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

(Reuters) -Micron Technology expects first-quarter operating expenses to be higher than its prior estimates, sending the memory chipmaker's shares down 3%, even as the company projected revenue to trend towards the upper-limit of its forecast.

The company on Tuesday estimated adjusted operating expenses of about $990 million in the quarter ending Nov. 30, higher that its prior expectation of $900 million, plus or minus $15 million.

The higher expenses are driven by the timing of R&D costs as well as asset sales, CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said at the UBS Global Technology Conference on Tuesday.

Still, the company predicted its first-quarter adjusted gross margin to approach break-even on improving inventory and a rebound in pricing in the industry.

Micron said it now expects revenue to approach $4.7 billion, compared with its previous estimate of $4.4 billion, plus or minus $200 million.

"I think it's just generally expectations were high heading into this MU's presentation today given how strong memory fundamentals have been, so the forecast is better, but the improvement was a bit more muted perhaps than expected," Wedbush Securities analyst Matthew Bryson said.

Memory giant Samsung Electronics said last month it expects to see chip industry recovery next year after a year of supply glut.

Micron expects current-quarter adjusted loss per share to be about $1. It previously forecast loss of $1.07 per share, plus or minus 7 cents.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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