South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor, the world's second-largest maker of memory chips, said Thursday it swung into the red in the fourth quarter as chip prices fell on weak demand for personal computers.
The net loss was 239.9 billion won ($213.1 million) in October-December compared to a net profit of 30 billion won a year earlier, the company said. It was the second consecutive quarterly net loss.
Fourth-quarter sales fell 7.2 percent year-on-year to 2.55 trillion won, and the operating loss was 167.5 billion won compared to an operating profit of 293.7 billion a year earlier.
For the whole of last year the company's net loss was 56 billion won, compared with a net profit of 2.6 trillion won the previous year. Sales fell 14.1 percent on-year to 10.4 trillion won and operating profit dropped 89.1 percent to 325.5 billion won.
"Last year, global economic uncertainty and natural disasters in Japan and Thailand undercut demand for tech products," the company said in a statement.
The prices of DRAM chips used in personal computers have been dropping since September 2010. Last year's floods in Thailand, the world's leading maker of computer drives, also hit global computer markets.
Hynix competes with Samsung Electronics in the dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chip market and with Japan's Toshiba in the NAND flash memory market.
Hynix said DRAM prices fell 19 percent in the fourth quarter and prices of NAND dropped 17 percent.
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