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Western Digital hard drive prices rose 47 percent after Thai floods

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Western Digital's hard drive prices rose 47 percent to $69 per unit over last year, but it sold 23.7 million fewer hard drives, a 45 percent drop. The company expects manufacturing to return to pre-flood levels by September 2012.

Gallery Photo: Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo gallery
Gallery Photo: Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo gallery

The floods in Thailand certainly had an effect on hard drive supplies and prices, and now Western Digital's earnings report for Q1 2012 attaches some hard numbers to the impact. Although prices rose 47 percent to $69 per unit over last year, WD sold 23.7 million fewer hard drives, a 45 percent drop. Some of that price jump can be attributed to increased manufacturing costs, but most of it went to towards profit with a gross margin increase to 32.5 percent over last year's 19.2. Overall, WD reported $199 million in expenses related to the floods and $2 billion in total revenue, down about half a billion dollars from last year. The company says its factories in Thailand should be back to pre-flood capacities by September 2012, with inventory pipelines replenished in the first half of 2013. But in the end, it looks like it could be a while before hard drive prices return to September 2011 levels.