SEOUL, South Korea - SK Hynix Inc., the world's second-largest memory chipmaker, reported its third straight quarterly loss Thursday as chip prices dropped amid competition from rival suppliers and tepid demand for personal computers.
The company said in a statement it had a net loss of 271 billion won ($238 million) for the January-March quarter compared with a profit of 274 billion won a year earlier.
Sales dropped 15 per cent from a year earlier to 2.39 trillion won. Its quarterly operating loss was 260 billion won.
"The downturn trend of memory semiconductor prices lasted due to slow seasonal demand and intensified competition among suppliers in the market," Hynix said in a statement.
The company, however, expects launches of new smartphones and tablet computers and stronger-than-expected demand for mobile devices from China to drive a rebound in the chip industry in the coming months.
Prices of chips used in personal computers are expected to rise as new chip designs from Intel Corp. and demand for Ultrabooks — laptop computers that are lighter and thinner than mainstream laptops — will likely fuel sales, Hynix said.
The price of memory chips for PCs had tumbled as much as half but began to pick up after Japan's Elpida Memory Inc. filed for bankruptcy in February, which raised the prospect of shortages.
SK Hynix, which competes with Samsung Electronics Co. and Japan's Toshiba Corp. in the global memory chip market, made an initial offer to buy Elpida last month. It is now carrying out due diligence.
In March, SK Hynix, formerly known as Hynix Semiconductor Inc., became part of South Korea's third-largest conglomerate SK Group after its SK Telecom Co. unit bought a 21 per cent stake in the chipmaker.