SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended June 28, 2019
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission file number: 1-8703
WESTERN DIGITAL CORPORATION
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
5601 Great Oaks Parkway
(Address of principal executive offices)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (408) 717-6000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $.01 Par Value Per Share
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
(Nasdaq Global Select Market)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ý
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant on December 28, 2018, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $9.5 billion, based on the closing sale price as reported on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
There were 296,003,875 shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, outstanding as of the close of business on August 14, 2019.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Part III incorporates by reference certain information from the registrant’s definitive proxy statement (the “Proxy Statement”) for the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the 2019 fiscal year. Except with respect to information specifically incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K, the Proxy Statement is not deemed to be filed as part hereof.
WESTERN DIGITAL CORPORATION
Unresolved Staff Comments
Mine Safety Disclosures
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Selected Financial Data
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Controls and Procedures
Director, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Principal Accounting Fees and Services
Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules
Form 10‑K Summary
Unless otherwise indicated, references herein to specific years and quarters are to our fiscal years and fiscal quarters, and references to financial information are on a consolidated basis. As used herein, the terms “we,” “us,” “our,” the “Company,” “WDC” and “Western Digital” refer to Western Digital Corporation and its subsidiaries, unless we state, or the context indicates, otherwise.
WDC, a Delaware corporation, is the parent company of our data storage business. Our principal executive offices are located at 5601 Great Oaks Parkway, San Jose, California 95119. Our telephone number is (408) 717-6000.
Western Digital, the Western Digital logo, G-Technology, SanDisk and WD are registered trademarks or trademarks of Western Digital or its affiliates in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other trademarks, registered trademarks and/or service marks, indicated or otherwise, are the property of their respective owners.
This document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Any statements that do not relate to historical or current facts or matters are forward-looking statements. You can identify some of the forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking words, such as “may,” “will,” “could,” “would,” “project,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “estimate,” “continue,” “potential,” “plan,” “forecast,” and the like, or the use of future tense. Statements concerning current conditions may also be forward-looking if they imply a continuation of current conditions. Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning:
expectations regarding our Flash Ventures joint venture with Toshiba Memory Corporation, the flash industry and our flash wafer output plans;
our cost and expense reduction actions;
our quarterly cash dividend policy and share repurchase program;
expectations regarding our product development and technology plans;
expectations regarding our future results of operations;
expectations regarding the outcome of legal proceedings in which we are involved;
expectations regarding the repatriation of funds from our foreign operations;
our beliefs regarding tax benefits and the timing of future payments, if any, relating to the unrecognized tax benefits, and the adequacy of our tax provisions;
expectations regarding capital investments and sources of funding for those investments; and
our beliefs regarding the sufficiency of our available liquidity to meet our working capital, our debt and debt covenants, our dividend plans and our capital expenditure needs.
Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. You are urged to carefully review the disclosures we make concerning risks and other factors that may affect our business and operating results, including those made in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and any of those made in our other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this document. We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to publish revised forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this document or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
Western Digital Corporation (“Western Digital”) is a leading developer, manufacturer, and provider of data storage devices and solutions that address the evolving needs of the information technology (“IT”) industry and the infrastructure that enables the proliferation of data in virtually every other industry. We create environments for data to thrive. We are driving the innovation needed to help customers capture, preserve, access and transform an ever-increasing diversity of data. Everywhere data lives, from advanced data centers to mobile sensors to personal devices, our industry-leading solutions deliver the possibilities of data.
Our broad portfolio of technology and products address the following key end markets: Client Devices; Data Center Devices and Solutions; and Client Solutions. We also generate license and royalty revenue from our extensive intellectual property (“IP”), which is included in each of these three end market categories.
Founded in 1970 in Santa Ana, California and now headquartered in San Jose, California, Western Digital has one of the technology industry’s most valuable patent portfolios with more than 14,000 patents awarded worldwide. Since 2009, we have been a Standard & Poor’s 500 (“S&P 500”) company. We have a rich heritage of innovation and operational excellence, a wide range of IP assets and broad research and development (“R&D”) capabilities. The unabated growth and value of data continues, creating a global need for a larger and more capable storage infrastructure. Our devices and solutions are made using either rotating magnetic technology, hard disk drives (“HDD”), or semiconductor technology, referred to as flash-based memory (“flash”). We continue to transform ourselves to address this growth by providing the broadest range of storage technologies in the industry with a comprehensive product portfolio and global reach.
We enable cloud service providers to build more powerful, cost effective and efficient data centers. We have relationships with the full range of original equipment manufacturers (“OEM”) and data center customers currently addressing storage opportunities, such as storage subsystem suppliers, major server OEMs, Internet and social media infrastructure players, and personal computer (“PC”) and Mac™ OEMs. We have also built strong consumer brands by providing effective tools to manage fast-accumulating libraries of personal content. We market our products primarily under the HGST, SanDisk and WD brands. Our products are sold through distribution, retail and direct channels worldwide. We are a vertically integrated company with deep capabilities to transform disk drive and flash-based components into products and solutions. We operate a series of joint ventures with Toshiba Memory Corporation (“TMC”) that provide us with industry leading flash-based memory wafers that we use in our products (see “Ventures with Toshiba Memory” Section below).
We are well positioned to capitalize on the ongoing expansion in digital content generation and management. This fundamental trend is linked directly to commercial enterprises’ and consumers’ need for data storage and extraction of value from the data. The ways in which people and organizations are creating and using data are changing and the amount of data considered useful to store is expanding. More digital content is being stored and managed in a cloud environment on both HDDs and flash-based solid state drives (“SSDs”). With a focus on innovation and value creation, our goal is to grow through strong execution and targeted investments in data center infrastructure, mobility and the cloud.
We operate in the data storage and data management industry. Our devices and solutions provide a broad range of reliability, performance, storage capacity and data retention capabilities to our customers. The ability to capture and create value through the use of data analytics is increasingly important to our customers. In a connected global marketplace, across the data infrastructure, there has been a proliferation in the methods by and the rates at which content is generated, accessed, transformed, consumed and stored by end users. When combined with fast global networks, these trends create tremendous need for cost effective, high-performance and/or high-capacity storage solutions in edge and end-point use cases such as mobile, computing and consumer electronic devices, as well as in a wide range of storage systems, servers and data centers.
The growth in computing complexity, cloud computing applications, connected mobile devices and Internet connected products is driving unabated growth in the volume of digital content to be stored. This growth has led to a creation of new form factors for data storage. The storage industry is increasingly utilizing tiered architectures with HDDs, SSDs and other non-volatile memory-based storage to address an expanding set of uses and applications. We continuously monitor the advantages, disadvantages and advances of the full array of storage technologies, including reviewing these technologies with our customers, to ensure we are appropriately resourced to meet our customers’ storage needs. Storage solutions that hold large amounts of data are key enablers of the trends seen in the evolution of a data driven economy, underpinned by the increase of digital content creation, consumption and monetization. Our investments in a range of early stage companies made possible through Western Digital Capital Global enables us to monitor and lead key trends within our ecosystem.
We are a market and customer driven company, focused on growth, technology, innovation and value creation for our customers, employees and shareholders. We develop deep and collaborative relationships with our customers with a goal of enabling their continued success, an approach that has made us a trusted business partner in our served markets. As our portfolio of storage solutions expands further, we believe our customer engagement approach is one of the key factors that will help us continue to achieve strong financial performance over the long term. We continue to evolve our customer engagement and go-to-market model to address changing customer and market needs. We are well positioned to expand our value-creation model within an evolving and growing storage ecosystem with our diversified product platform and unique competitive advantages.
Our industry is highly competitive. We compete with manufacturers of HDDs and flash-based memory for client devices and solutions, and data center devices and solutions. In HDD, we compete with Seagate Technology plc and Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation. In flash, we compete with vertically integrated suppliers such as Intel Corporation, Micron Technology, Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., SK hynix, Inc., TMC and numerous smaller companies that assemble flash into products.
Our overall strategy is to leverage our technology, innovation and execution capabilities to be an industry-leading and broad-based developer, manufacturer and provider of storage devices and solutions that support the infrastructure that has enabled the unabated proliferation of data. We believe we are the only company in the world with large-scale capabilities to develop and manufacture a portfolio of integrated data storage solutions that are based on both rotating magnetic and flash memory technologies. We strive to successfully execute our strategy through the following foundational elements in order to deliver the best outcome for our customers, partners, investors and employees:
Technology Leadership: We continue to innovate and develop advanced technologies across platforms for both HDD and flash to deliver timely new products and solutions to meet growing demands for scale, performance and cost efficiency in the market.
Broad Product Portfolio: We leverage our capabilities in firmware, software and systems in both HDD and flash to deliver compelling and differentiated integrated storage solutions to our customers that offer the best combinations of performance, cost, power consumption, form factor, quality and reliability, while creating new use cases for our solutions in emerging markets.
Operational Excellence: We are focused on delivering the best value for our customers in data center, client and consumer markets through a relentless focus on appropriately scaling our operations across both HDD and flash technologies to efficiently support business growth, achieving best in class cost, quality and cycle-time, maintaining industry leading manufacturing capabilities, and having a competitive advantage in supply-chain management.
Our strategy provides the following benefits, which distinguish us in the dynamic and competitive data storage industry:
differentiates us as the leading developer and manufacturer of integrated products and solutions based on both HDD and flash, making us a more strategic supply partner to our large-scale customers who have storage needs across the data infrastructure ecosystem;
enables scaling for efficiency and flexibility, allowing us to leverage our HDD and flash R&D and capital expenditures to deliver storage solutions to multiple markets;
results in continued diversification of our HDD and flash storage solutions portfolio and entry into additional growing adjacent markets; and
allows us to achieve strong financial performance, including healthy cash generation, thereby enabling organic and inorganic business investments and return of cash to shareholders.
Data Storage Solutions
We offer a broad line of data storage solutions to meet the evolving storage needs of end markets which include the following:
Client Devices consist of HDDs and SSDs for computing devices, such as desktop and notebook PCs, security surveillance systems, gaming consoles and set top boxes; flash-based embedded storage products for mobile phones, tablets, notebook PCs and other portable and wearable devices, automotive, Internet of Things (“IoT”), industrial and connected home applications; and flash-based memory wafers and components. Our HDDs and SSDs are designed for use in devices requiring high performance, reliability and capacity with various attributes such as low cost per GB, quiet acoustics, low power consumption and protection against shocks. Our embedded storage include custom embedded solutions and embedded flash products, such as our multi-chip package (“MCP”) solutions that combine flash-based and mobile dynamic random-access memory (“DRAM”) in an integrated package.
Data Center Devices and Solutions
Data Center Devices and Solutions consist of high-capacity enterprise HDDs and high-performance enterprise SSDs, data center software and system solutions. Our capacity enterprise helium hard drives provide high capacity storage needs and low total cost of ownership benefits for the growing cloud data center market. Our high-performance enterprise class SSDs include high-performance flash-based SSDs and software solutions which are optimized for performance applications providing a range of capacity and performance levels primarily for use in enterprise servers, supporting high volume on-line transactions, data analysis and other enterprise applications. Our data center solutions also include a wide range of high-capacity HDDs and drive configurations which provide enterprise class reliability at the lowest cost per gigabyte (“GB”). These drives are primarily for use in data storage systems, in tiered storage models and where data must be stored reliably for years. Our system solutions provide petabyte scalable capacity with high performance at compelling economics. We also provide higher value data storage platforms and systems to the market through our vertically integrated scale-out object storage active archive systems.
Client Solutions consist of HDDs and SSDs embedded into external storage products and removable flash-based products, which include cards, universal serial bus (“USB”) flash drives and wireless drives. Our external HDD storage products in both mobile and desktop form factors provide affordable, high quality, reliable storage for backup and capacity expansion that are designed to keep digital content secure. We offer client portable SSDs with a range of capacities and performance characteristics to address a broad spectrum of the client storage market. Our removable cards are designed primarily for use in consumer devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, imaging systems, still cameras, action video cameras and security surveillance systems. Our USB flash drives are used in the computing and consumer markets and are designed for high-performance and reliability. Our wireless drive products allow in-field back up of created content, as well as wireless streaming of high-definition movies, photos, music and documents to tablets, smartphones and PCs.
Rotating Magnetic Storage
HDDs provide non-volatile data storage based on the recording of magnetic information on a rotating disk. We have successfully developed and commercialized HDDs that operate in an enclosed helium environment, instead of air, delivering industry leading HDD capacity and performance attributes. Our improvements in HDD capacity, which lower product costs over time, have been enabled largely through advancements in recording head and magnetic media technology. We develop and manufacture substantially all of the recording heads and magnetic media used in our hard drive products. We invest considerable resources in R&D, manufacturing infrastructure and capital equipment for recording head and media technology, as well as other aspects of the magnetic recording system such as HDD mechanics, controller and firmware technology, in order to secure our competitive position and cost structure. In 2018, we announced the world’s first microwave-assisted magnetic recording (“MAMR”) HDD - a breakthrough in innovation for delivering ultra-high capacity HDDs to meet the future demands of Big Data with proven data center-level reliability.
Solid State Storage
Solid state storage products provide non-volatile data storage based on flash technology. We develop and manufacture solid state storage products in different form factors for a variety of different markets, including enterprise or cloud storage, client storage, automotive, mobile devices and removable memory devices.
Our solid state storage products utilize our captive flash-based technology which we develop and manufacture through our business ventures with TMC. We devote significant research and development resources to the development of highly reliable, high-performance, cost-effective flash-based technology. Over time, we have successfully developed and commercialized an increased number of storage bits per cell in an increasingly smaller form factor, further driving cost reductions. Following our introduction and commercialization in 2018 of products based on 4-bits-per-cell architectures (“QLC technology”) and on 3-dimensional flash technology (“3D NAND”), which we refer to as BiCS3, we started shipping products based on QLC and BiCS4 technologies in 2019. BiCS4 QLC technology delivers an industry-leading storage capacity of 1.33 terabits on a single chip. In addition, we implemented our advanced UFS and e.MMC interface in a new portfolio of advanced embedded flash drives to empower smartphone users to unlock the full potential of today’s data-driven applications and experiences. We also provide a range of embedded storage solutions for customers developing high-end, highly demanding, and data-intensive automotive applications.
We expect to develop and commercialize additional generations of 3D NAND technologies over the next several years while continuing to utilize our older technology for certain markets and applications.
We are leveraging our expertise, resources and strategic investments in non-volatile memories to explore a wide spectrum of persistent memory and storage class memory technologies. We have also initiated, defined and developed standards to meet new market needs and to promote wide acceptance of flash storage standards through interoperability and ease-of-use.
Our products generally leverage a common platform for various products within product families, and in some cases across product families, resulting in the commonality of components which reduces our exposure to changes in demand, facilitates inventory management and allows us to achieve lower costs through purchasing economies. This platform strategy also enables our customers to leverage their qualification efforts onto successive product models. For a discussion of associated risks, see Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
Research and Development
We devote substantial resources to the development of new products and the improvement of existing products. We focus our engineering efforts on coordinating our product design and manufacturing processes to bring our products to market in a cost-effective and timely manner. For a discussion of associated risks, see Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
Patents, Licenses and Proprietary Information
We rely on a combination of patents, trademarks, copyright and trade secret laws, confidentiality procedures and licensing arrangements to protect our IP rights.
We have more than 14,000 active patents worldwide and have many patent applications in process. We continually seek additional United States (“U.S.”) and international patents on our technology. We believe that, although our active patents and patent applications have considerable value, the successful manufacturing and marketing of our products also depends upon the technical and managerial competence of our staff. Accordingly, the patents held and applied for cannot alone ensure our future success.
In addition to patent protection of certain IP rights, we consider elements of our product designs and processes to be proprietary and confidential. We believe that our non-patented IP, particularly some of our process technology, is an important factor in our success. We rely upon non-disclosure agreements, contractual provisions and a system of internal safeguards to protect our proprietary information. Despite these safeguards, there is a risk that competitors may obtain and use such information. The laws of foreign jurisdictions in which we conduct business may provide less protection for confidential information than the laws of the U.S.
We rely on certain technology that we license from other parties to manufacture and sell our products. We believe that we have adequate cross-licenses and other agreements in place in addition to our own IP portfolio to compete successfully in the storage industry. For a discussion of associated risks, see Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
We believe that we have significant know-how, unique product manufacturing processes, test and tooling, execution skills, human resources and training to continue to be successful and to grow our manufacturing operations as necessary. We strive to maintain manufacturing flexibility, high manufacturing yields, reliable products and high-quality components. The critical elements of our production of HDD and flash-based products are high-volume and utilization, low-cost assembly and testing, strict adherence to quality metrics and maintaining close relationships with our strategic component suppliers to access best-in-class technology and manufacturing capacity. We continually monitor our manufacturing capabilities to respond to the changing requirements of our customers and maintain our competitiveness and position as a data technology leader.
HDD and flash-based product manufacturing are complex processes involving the production and assembly of precision components with narrow tolerances and rigorous testing. The manufacturing processes involve a number of steps that are dependent on each other and occur in “clean room” environments that demand skill in process engineering and efficient space utilization to control the operating costs of these manufacturing environments. We continually evaluate our manufacturing processes in an effort to increase productivity, sustain and improve quality and decrease manufacturing costs. We continually evaluate which steps in the manufacturing process would benefit from automation and how automated manufacturing processes can improve productivity and reduce manufacturing costs.
Substantially all of our flash-based supply requirements for our flash-based products is obtained from our business ventures with TMC, which provide us with leading-edge, high-quality and low-cost flash memory wafers. This represents our captive supply and we are obligated to take our share of the output from these ventures or pay the fixed costs associated with that capacity. See “Ventures with Toshiba Memory” below for additional information. While substantially all of our flash memory supply utilized for our products is purchased from these ventures, from time-to-time, we also purchase flash memory from other flash manufacturers, which we refer to as non-captive. While we do not unilaterally control the operations of our ventures with TMC, we believe that our business venture relationship with TMC helps us to reduce the costs of producing our products, increases our ability to control the quality of our products and speeds delivery of our products to our customers. Our vertically integrated manufacturing operations for our flash-based products are concentrated in three locations, with our business ventures with TMC located in Yokkaichi, Japan, and our in-house assembly and test operations located in Shanghai, China and Penang, Malaysia.
We also leverage the efficiencies of contract manufacturers when strategically advantageous. For a discussion of associated risks, see Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
Materials and Supplies
HDD consists primarily of recording heads, magnetic media and a printed circuit board assembly. We design and manufacture substantially all of the recording heads and magnetic media required for our products. As a result, we are more dependent upon our own development and execution efforts and less reliant on recording head and magnetic media technologies developed by other manufacturers. We depend on an external supply base for all remaining components and materials for use in our HDD product design and manufacturing.
Our flash-based products consist of flash memory, controllers and firmwares. Substantially all of our flash-based memory is supplied by our business ventures with TMC. Controllers are primarily designed in-house and manufactured by third-party foundries or acquired from third-party suppliers. We believe the use of our in-house assembly and test facilities, as well as contract manufacturers, provides flexibility and gives us access to increased production capacity. We have developed deep relationships with these vendors and TMC to establish continuous supply of flash-based memory and controllers.
We generally retain multiple suppliers for our component requirements but in some instances use sole or single sources for business or technology reasons. Currently, we believe that there are no major issues with component availability. For a discussion of associated risks, see Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
Ventures with Toshiba Memory
We and TMC currently operate three business ventures in 300-millimeter flash-based manufacturing facilities in Japan, which provide us leading-edge, cost-competitive flash-based memory wafers for our end products. Through Flash Partners Ltd., Flash Alliance Ltd., and Flash Forward Ltd., which we collectively refer to as Flash Ventures, we and TMC collaborate in the development and manufacture of flash-based memory wafers using semiconductor manufacturing equipment owned or leased by each of the Flash Venture entities. We hold a 49.9% ownership position in each of the Flash Venture entities. Each Flash Venture entity purchases wafers from TMC at cost and then resells those wafers to us and TMC at cost plus a mark-up. We are obligated to pay for variable costs incurred in producing our share of Flash Ventures’ flash-based memory wafer supply, based on our three month forecast, which generally equals 50% of Flash Ventures’ output. In addition, we are obligated to pay for half of Flash Ventures’ fixed costs regardless of the output we choose to purchase. We are also obligated to fund 49.9% to 50% of Flash Ventures’ capital investments to the extent that Flash Ventures’ operating cash flow is insufficient to fund these investments. We and TMC also collaborate on certain R&D activities in support of Flash Ventures.
The agreements governing the operations of the Flash Venture entities also set out a framework for any investment by the joint venture partners in flash manufacturing capacity. Since its inception, Flash Ventures has been based in a manufacturing site in Yokkaichi, Japan that is owned and operated by TMC. The Yokkaichi site currently includes five wafer fabrication facilities, the newest of which is known as “Y6.” We have jointly invested, and intend to continue to jointly invest, with TMC in manufacturing equipment for Y6. In May 2019, we entered into additional agreements to extend Flash Ventures to a new wafer fabrication facility, known as “K1.” K1 is currently under construction at a site in Kitakami, Iwate, Japan that is operated by Toshiba Memory Corporation Iwate, a wholly owned subsidiary of TMC. As with Y6, the primary purpose of K1 is to provide clean room space to continue the transition of existing flash-based wafer capacity to newer technology nodes.
For a discussion of risks associated with our business ventures with TMC, see Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
Sales and Distribution
We maintain sales offices in selected parts of the world including the major geographies of the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. Our international sales, which include sales to foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies but do not include sales to U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies, represented 78%, 78% and 80% of our net revenue for 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Sales to international customers are subject to certain risks not normally encountered in domestic operations, including exposure to tariffs and various trade regulations. For a discussion of associated risks, see Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
We perform our marketing and advertising functions internally and through outside firms utilizing both consumer media and trade publications targeting various reseller and end-user categories. We also maintain customer relationships through direct communication and by providing information and support through our website. In accordance with standard storage industry practice, we provide distributors and retailers with limited price protection and programs under which we reimburse certain marketing expenditures. We also provide distributors, resellers and OEMs with other sales incentive programs. While these groups of customers make up our end markets, some of these customers cross into multiple groups. We define these customers as follows:
Original Equipment Manufacturers. OEMs, including large-scale data center operators, system integrators and cloud customers who bundle, embed, or integrate our storage solutions, purchase our products either directly or through a contract manufacturer such as an original design manufacturer and assemble them into the devices they build. OEMs typically seek to qualify two or more providers for each generation of products and generally will purchase products from those vendors for the life of that product. Many of our OEM customers utilize just-in-time inventory management processes. As a result, for certain OEMs, we maintain a base stock of finished goods inventory in facilities located near or adjacent to the OEM’s operations. In addition, we sell directly to cloud infrastructure players as well as flash storage solutions to customers that offer our products under their own brand name in the retail market, which we also classify as OEMs.
Distributors. We use a broad group of distributors to sell our products to non-direct customers such as small computer and consumer electronics (“CE”) manufacturers, dealers, value-added resellers, systems integrators, online retailers and other resellers. Distributors generally enter into non-exclusive agreements with us for the purchase and redistribution of our products in specific territories.
Retailers. We sell our branded products directly to a select group of major retailers such as computer superstores, warehouse clubs, online retailers and computer electronics stores, and authorize sales through distributors to smaller retailers. The retail channel complements our other sales channels while helping to build brand awareness for us and our products. We also sell our branded products through our websites.
For each of 2019, 2018 and 2017, no single customer accounted for 10% or more of our net revenue. For a discussion of associated risks, see Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K. For additional information regarding revenue recognition and major customers, see Part II, Item 8, Note 1, Organization and Basis of Presentation and Note 10, Business Segment, Revenue Information, Geographic Information and Concentration of Risk, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
A substantial portion of our orders are generally for shipments within 60 days of the placement of the order. Customers’ purchase orders may be canceled with relatively short notice to us, with little or no cost to the customer, or modified by customers to provide for delivery at a later date. In addition, for many of our OEMs utilizing just-in-time inventory, we do not generally require firm order commitments and instead receive a periodic forecast of requirements. Therefore, backlog information as of the end of a particular period is not necessarily indicative of future levels of our revenue and profit and may not be comparable to prior periods.
We have historically experienced seasonal fluctuations in our business with higher levels of demand in the first and second quarters of our fiscal year as a result of increased customer spending. Seasonality can also be impacted by the growth in emerging markets and macroeconomic conditions. For a discussion of associated risks, see Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
Service and Warranty
We generally warrant our newly manufactured products against defects in materials and workmanship from one to five years from the date of sale depending on the type of product, with a small number of products having a warranty ranging up to ten years or more. Our warranty obligation is generally limited to repair or replacement. We have engaged third parties in various countries in multiple regions to provide various levels of testing, processing, or recertification of returned products for our customers. For additional information regarding our service and warranty policy, see Part II, Item 8, Note 1, Organization and Basis of Presentation and Note 3, Supplemental Financial Statement Data, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We are subject to a variety of U.S. and foreign laws and regulations in connection with our operations and relating to the protection of the environment, including those governing discharges of pollutants into the air and water, the management and disposal of hazardous substances and the clean-up of contaminated sites. Some of our operations require environmental permits and controls to prevent and reduce air and water pollution. These permits are subject to modification, renewal and revocation by issuing authorities. We believe that we have obtained or are in the process of obtaining all necessary environmental permits for our operations.
We have established environmental management systems and continually update our environmental policies and standard operating procedures for our operations worldwide. We believe that our operations are in material compliance with applicable environmental laws, regulations and permits. We budget for operating and capital costs on an ongoing basis to comply with environmental laws.
Our properties have in some cases been operated for many years and may contain soil or groundwater contamination. In certain of our facilities we are undertaking voluntary monitoring of soil and groundwater. Based on available information, including our voluntary monitoring activities, we do not believe that we have a current affirmative legal obligation for any remedial action.
For a discussion of associated risks, see Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
As of June 28, 2019, we employed a total of approximately 61,800 employees worldwide, excluding temporary employees and contractors. Many of our employees are highly skilled and our continued success depends in part upon our ability to attract and retain such employees. Accordingly, we offer employee benefit programs that we believe are, in the aggregate, competitive with those offered by our competitors.
While the substantial majority of our employees are not party to a collective bargaining agreement, a majority of our employees in Japan and China are subject to collective bargaining agreements. We consider our employee relations to be good. For a discussion of associated risks, see Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability
We believe responsible and sustainable business practices support our long-term success. As a company, we are deeply committed to protecting and supporting our people, our environment, and our communities. That commitment is reflected through sustainability-focused initiatives as well as day-to-day activities, including our adoption of sustainability-focused policies and procedures, our publicly-recognized focus on fostering an inclusive workplace, our constant drive toward more efficient use of materials and energy, our careful and active management of our supply chain, our community-focused volunteerism programs and philanthropic initiatives, and our impactful, globally-integrated ethics and compliance program.
We seek to protect the human rights and civil liberties of our employees through policies, procedures, and programs that avoid risks of compulsory and child labor, both within our company and throughout our supply chain.
We foster a workplace of dignity, respect, diversity, and inclusion through our recruiting and advancement practices, internal communications, and employee resource groups.
We educate our employees annually on relevant ethics and compliance topics, publish accessible guidance on ethical issues and related company resources in our Global Code of Conduct, and encourage reporting of ethical concerns through any of several global and local reporting channels.
We support local communities throughout the world, focusing on hunger relief, environmental quality, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, especially for underrepresented and underprivileged youth.
We utilize a robust integrated management system, with associated policies and procedures, to evaluate and manage occupational health and safety risks, environmental compliance, and chemical and hazardous substance risks.
We innovate to reduce the energy used by our products, the energy used to manufacture them, and the amount of new materials required to manufacture them.
We maintain an Internet website at www.wdc.com. The information on our website is not incorporated in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K. Our Annual Report on Form 10‑K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10‑Q, Current Reports on Form 8‑K and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, are available on our website at www.wdc.com, free of charge, as soon as reasonably practicable after the electronic filing of these reports with, or furnishing of these reports to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC, including us.
Item 1A.Risk Factors
Our business, financial condition and operating results can be affected by a number of risks and uncertainties, whether currently known or unknown, any one or more of which could, directly or indirectly, cause our actual results of operations and financial condition to vary materially from past, or from anticipated future, results of operations and financial condition. The risks and uncertainties discussed below are not the only ones facing our business, but represent risks and uncertainties that we believe are material to us. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or the market price of our common stock.
Adverse global or regional conditions could harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
A large portion of our revenue is derived from our international operations, and many of our products and components are produced overseas. As a result, our business, results of operations and financial condition depend significantly on global and regional conditions. Adverse changes in global or regional economic conditions, including, but not limited to, volatility in the financial markets, tighter credit, slower growth in certain geographic regions, political uncertainty, other macroeconomic factors, and changes to policies, rules and regulations, could significantly harm demand for our products, increase credit and collectability risks, result in revenue reductions, increase manufacturing and operating costs or result in impairment charges or other expenses.
Our revenue and future growth are significantly dependent on the growth of international markets, and we may face difficulties in entering or maintaining international sales markets. We are subject to risks associated with our global manufacturing operations and global marketing and sales efforts, as well as risks associated with our utilization of and reliance on contract manufacturers, including:
obtaining requisite governmental permits and approvals, compliance with foreign laws and regulations and changes in foreign laws and regulations;
the need to comply with regulations on international business, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the United Kingdom Bribery Act 2010, the anti-bribery laws of other countries and rules regarding conflict minerals;
copyright levies or similar fees or taxes imposed in European and other countries;
exchange, currency and tax controls and reallocations;
weaker protection of IP rights;
trade restrictions, such as export controls, export bans, embargoes, sanctions, license and certification requirements (including on encryption technology), new or increased tariffs and fees and complex customs regulations; and
difficulties in managing international operations, including appropriate internal controls.
As a result of these risks, our business, results of operations or financial condition could be adversely affected.
We rely substantially on our business ventures with Toshiba Memory Corporation (“TMC”) for the development and supply of flash-based memory, which subjects us to risks and uncertainties that could harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
We depend on our ventures with TMC to develop and manufacture our flash-based memory. We partner with TMC on the development of flash-based technology, including future generations of 3D NAND, as well as other non-volatile memory technology in support of Flash Ventures. Flash Ventures is subject to various risks that could harm the value of our investments, our revenue and costs, our future rate of spending, our technology plans and our future growth opportunities.
Substantially all of our flash-based memory is supplied by Flash Ventures, which limits our ability to respond to market demand and supply changes. A failure to accurately forecast demand could cause us to over-invest or under-invest in technology transitions or the expansion of Flash Ventures’ capacity. Over-investment by us or our competitors could result in excess supply, which could cause significant decreases in our product prices, significant excess, obsolete inventory or inventory write-downs or under-utilization charges, and the potential impairment of our investments in Flash Ventures. On the other hand, if we under-invest in Flash Ventures or otherwise grow or transition Flash Ventures’ capacity more slowly than we expect or than the rest of the industry, we may not have enough supply of the right type of memory or at all to meet demand on a timely and cost effective basis and we may lose opportunities for revenue, gross margin and market share as a result. If our supply is limited, we may make strategic decisions with respect to the allocation of our supply among our products and customers, and these strategic allocation decisions may result in less favorable gross margin or damage certain customer relationships. We are contractually obligated to pay for 50% of the fixed costs of Flash Ventures regardless of whether we purchase any wafers from Flash Ventures. Furthermore, purchase orders placed with Flash Ventures and under the foundry arrangements with TMC for up to three months are binding and cannot be canceled. Therefore, once our purchase decisions have been made, our production costs for flash memory are fixed, and we may be unable to reduce costs to match any subsequent declines in pricing or demand, which would harm our gross margin. Our limited ability to react to fluctuations in flash memory supply and demand makes our financial results particularly susceptible to variations from our forecasts and expectations.
Under the Flash Ventures agreements, we have limited power to unilaterally direct most of the activities that most significantly impact Flash Ventures’ performance and we have limited ability to source or fabricate flash-based memory outside of Flash Ventures. Lack of alignment with TMC with respect to Flash Ventures could adversely impact our ability to stay at the forefront of technological advancement and our investment in Flash Ventures and otherwise harm our business. Misalignment could arise due to changes in TMC’s strategic priorities and/or ownership, which has changed significantly recently and could continue to change. TMC’s stakeholders may include, or have included in the past, flash and HDD competitors, customers, a private equity firm and a bank owned by the Government of Japan. TMC’s ownership and capital structure could lead to delays in decision-making, disputes, or changes in strategic direction that could adversely impact Flash Ventures and/or adversely affect our business prospects, results of operations and financial condition. There may exist conflicts of interest between TMC’s stakeholders and Flash Ventures or us with respect to, among other things, protecting and growing Flash Ventures’ business, IP and competitively sensitive confidential information.
Flash Ventures requires significant investments by both TMC and us for technology transitions, including the transition to 3D NAND, and capacity expansions. TMC’s parent company, Toshiba Memory Holdings Corporation (“TMHC”), recently announced new financing in the amount of 1.2 trillion Japanese yen. TMHC’s financing agreements and/or its high level of debt could limit TMC’s ability to timely fund or finance investments in Flash Ventures or our joint development efforts, as well as limit Flash Ventures’ ability to enter into lease financings. To the extent that lease financings for Flash Ventures are not accessible on favorable terms or at all, more cash would be required to fund investments. If TMC does not or we do not provide sufficient resources, or have adequate access to credit, to timely fund investments in Flash Ventures, our investments could be delayed or reduced. Delayed or reduced investment in manufacturing capacity or R&D could harm Flash Ventures’ competitiveness and/or our investment in Flash Ventures. In addition, TMHC’s financing arrangements might be secured by TMC’s equity interests in Flash Ventures, permitting the lenders to foreclose on those equity interests under certain circumstances.
In May 2019, we entered into definitive agreements with TMC regarding a new 3D NAND wafer fabrication facility in Kitakami, Iwate, Japan, known as “K1.” Under the K1 agreement, we agreed to, among other things, fund 50% of K1’s initial production line. Output from the initial production line, which is expected in the first half of calendar year 2020, could be delayed, reduced or otherwise fail to meet our expectations. As K1 is located at a new manufacturing site, K1 could be particularly susceptible to delays and other challenges in the production ramp and yields, qualification of wafers, shipment of samples to customers and customer approval process. Further, although we intend to continue to jointly invest with TMC to ramp up manufacturing capacity at K1, there is no certainty as to when, and on what terms, we will do so. If and for so long as our share of the K1 capacity falls below a specified threshold, we will be responsible for bearing fixed costs associated with K1’s operations at that threshold, which could adversely affect our financial results.
We participate in a highly competitive industry that is subject to declining average selling prices (“ASPs”), volatile demand, rapid technological change and industry consolidation, all of which could adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.
Demand for our devices, software and solutions that we offer to our customers, which we refer to in this Item 1A as our “products”, depends in large part on the demand for systems (including personal computers (“PCs”) and mobile devices) manufactured by our customers and on storage upgrades to existing systems. The demand for systems has been volatile in the past and often has had an exaggerated effect on the demand for our products in any given period. The prices of our products are influenced by, among other factors, the balance between supply and demand in the storage market, including the effects of new fab capacity, macroeconomic factors, business conditions, technology transitions and other actions taken by us or our competitors. The storage market has experienced volatile product life cycles, which can adversely affect our ability to recover the cost of product development, and periods of excess capacity, which can lead to liquidation of excess inventories, significant reductions in ASPs and adverse impacts on our revenue and gross margins.
Further, our ASPs and gross margins tend to decline when there is a shift in the mix of product sales, and sales of lower priced products increase relative to those of higher priced products. Further, we face potential gross margin pressures resulting from our ASPs declining more rapidly than our cost of revenue. Rapid technological changes often reduce the volume and profitability of sales of existing products and increase the risk of inventory obsolescence. Finally, the data storage industry has experienced consolidation over the past several years. Further consolidation across the industry could enhance the capacity, abilities and resources and lower the cost structure of some of our competitors, causing us to be at a competitive disadvantage. These factors may result in significant shifts in market share among the industry’s major participants, including a substantial decrease in our market share, all of which could adversely impact our operating results and financial condition.
In addition, we compete based on our ability to offer our customers competitive solutions that provide the most current and desired products and service features. As we compete in new product areas, the overall complexity of our business may increase at an accelerated rate and may result in increases in R&D expenses and substantial investments in manufacturing capability, technology enhancements and go-to-market capability. We must also qualify our products with customers through potentially lengthy testing processes, which may result in delayed, reduced or lost product sales. Some of our competitors offer products and technologies that we do not offer and may be able to use their broader product and technology portfolio to win sales from us, and some of our customers may be developing storage solutions internally, which may reduce their demand for our products. We expect that competition will continue to be intense, and there is a risk that our competitors may be able to gain a product offering or cost structure advantage over us, which may result in a loss of business to us. Further, some of our competitors may utilize certain pricing strategies, including offering products at prices at or below cost, that we may be unable to competitively match. We may also have difficulty effectively competing with manufacturers benefitting from governmental investments.
If we do not properly manage technology transitions and product development and introduction, our competitiveness and operating results may be negatively affected.
The storage markets in which we offer our products continuously undergo technology transitions that we must anticipate and adapt our existing products or develop new products to address in a timely manner. If we fail to implement new technologies successfully, if we are slower than our competitors at implementing new technologies, or if our technology transitions or product development are more costly to complete than anticipated, we may not be able to offer products our customers desire and our costs may not remain competitive, which would harm revenues, our gross margin and operating results.
In addition, the success of our technology transitions and product development and introduction depends on a number of other factors, including:
R&D expenses and results;
difficulties faced in manufacturing ramp;
effective management of inventory levels in line with anticipated product demand;
the vertical integration of some of our products, which may result in more capital expenditures and greater fixed costs than if we were not vertically integrated;
our ability to cost effectively respond to customer requests for new products or features and software associated with our products;
our ability to increase our software development capability; and
the effectiveness of our go-to-market capability in selling new products.
Moving to new technologies and products may require us to align to, and build, a new supply base. Our success in new product areas may be dependent in part on our ability to develop close relationships with new suppliers and on our ability to enter into favorable supply agreements. Where this cannot be done, our business and operations may be adversely affected. In addition, if our customers choose to delay transition to new technologies, if demand for the products that we develop is lower than expected or if the supporting technologies to implement these new technologies are not available, we may be unable to achieve the cost structure required to support our profit objectives or may be unable to grow or maintain our market position.
Additionally, new technologies and products could substitute for or replace our current technologies and products and make them obsolete. We also develop products to meet certain industry and technical standards, which may change. We could incur substantial costs as a result of shifts in technology and standards, such as adopting new standards or investing in different capital equipment or manufacturing processes to remain competitive.
For additional technology transition risks related to Flash Ventures, see the risk factor entitled “We rely substantially on our business ventures with Toshiba Memory Corporation (“TMC”) for the development and supply of flash-based memory, which subjects us to risks and uncertainties that could harm our business, financial condition and operating results.”
Our strategic relationships subject us to risks that could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have entered into strategic relationships with various partners for future product development, sales growth and the supply of technologies, components, equipment and materials for use in our product design and manufacturing, including our partnership with TMC for flash-based memory development and manufacturing. These strategic relationships are subject to various risks that could adversely affect the value of our investments and our results of operations and financial condition. These risks include, but are not limited to, the following:
our interests could diverge from our partners’ interests or we may not agree with co-venturers on ongoing activities, technology transitions or on the amount, timing or nature of further investments in the relationship;
we may experience difficulties and delays in product and technology development at, ramping production at, and transferring technology to, our business ventures;
our control over the operations of our business ventures is limited;
due to financial constraints, our co-venturers may be unable to meet their commitments to us or may pose credit risks for our transactions with them;
due to differing business models, financial constraints or long-term business goals, our partners may decide not to join us in funding capital investment by our business ventures, which may result in higher levels of cash expenditures by us or prevent us from proceeding in the investment;
we may lose the rights to technology or products being developed by the strategic relationship, including if any of our co-venturers is acquired by another company or otherwise transfers its interest in the business venture, files for bankruptcy or experiences financial or other losses;
a bankruptcy event involving a co-venturer could result in the early termination or adverse modification of the business venture or agreements governing the business venture;
we may experience difficulties or delays in collecting amounts due to us from our co-venturers;
the terms of our arrangements may turn out to be unfavorable; and
changes in tax, legal or regulatory requirements may necessitate changes in the agreements with our co-venturers.
If our strategic relationships are unsuccessful or there are unanticipated changes in, or termination of, our strategic relationships, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected.
We are dependent on a limited number of qualified suppliers who provide critical materials or components, and a disruption in our supply chain, including a shortage in supply or a supplier’s failure to support us in a timely manner with goods or services at a quality level and cost acceptable to us, or supplier consolidation, could adversely affect our margins, revenues and operating results.
We depend on an external supply base for technologies, software (including firmware), preamps, controllers, DRAM, components, equipment and materials for use in our product design and manufacturing. We also depend on suppliers for a portion of our wafer testing, chip assembly, product assembly and product testing, and on service suppliers for providing technical support for our products. In addition, we use logistics partners to manage our just-in-time hubs, distribution centers and freight from suppliers to our factories and from our factories to our customers throughout the world. Many of the components and much of the equipment we acquire must be specifically designed to be compatible for use in our products or for developing and manufacturing our future products, and are only available from a limited number of suppliers, some of whom are our sole-source suppliers. We are therefore dependent on these suppliers to be able and willing to dedicate adequate engineering resources to develop components that can be successfully integrated into our products, technology and equipment.
From time to time, our suppliers have experienced difficulty meeting our requirements. If we are unable to purchase sufficient quantities from our current suppliers or qualify and engage additional suppliers, or if we cannot purchase materials at a reasonable price, we may not be able to meet demand for our products. Trade restrictions, including tariffs, quotas and embargoes, demand from other high volume industries for materials or components used in our products or shortages in other components and materials used in our customers’ products could result in increased costs to us or decreased demand for our products, which could negatively impact our operating results. Delays or cost increases experienced by our suppliers in developing or sourcing materials and components for use in our products or incompatibility or quality issues relating to our products, could also harm our financial results as well as business relationships with our customers.
We do not have long-term contracts with some of our existing suppliers, nor do we always have guaranteed manufacturing capacity with our suppliers and, therefore, we cannot guarantee that they will devote sufficient resources or capacity to manufacturing our products. Any significant problems that occur at our suppliers, or their failure to perform at the level we expect, could lead to product shortages or quality assurance problems, either of which would harm our operating results and financial condition. When we do have contractual commitments with component suppliers in an effort to increase and stabilize the supply of those components, those commitments may require us to buy a substantial number of components from the supplier or make significant cash advances to the supplier; however, these commitments may not result in a satisfactory increase or stabilization of the supply of such components and may cause us to have inadequate or excess component inventory, which could increase our operating costs and adversely affect our operating results.
In addition, our supply base has experienced industry consolidation. Our suppliers may be acquired by our competitors, consolidate, decide to exit the industry, or redirect their investments and increase costs to us, each of which may have an adverse effect on our business and operations. In addition, some of our suppliers have experienced a decline in financial performance. Where we rely on a limited number of suppliers or a single supplier, the risk of supplier loss due to industry consolidation or a decline in financial performance is enhanced. Some of our suppliers may also be competitors in other areas of our business, which could lead to difficulties in price negotiations or meeting our supply requirements. Any disruption in our supply chain could reduce our revenue and adversely impact our financial results.
Our operations, and those of certain of our suppliers and customers, are concentrated in large, purpose-built facilities, subjecting us to substantial risk of damage or loss if operations at any of these facilities are disrupted.
As a result of our cost structure and strategy of vertical integration, we conduct our operations at large, high volume, purpose-built facilities in California and throughout Asia. The facilities of many of our customers, our suppliers and our customers’ suppliers are also concentrated in certain geographic locations throughout Asia and elsewhere. A fire, flood, earthquake, tsunami or other natural disaster, condition or event such as a power outage, terrorist attack, political instability, civil unrest, localized labor unrest or other employment issues, or a localized health risk that adversely affects any of these facilities, the employees, the technology infrastructure or logistics operators at these facilities, would significantly affect our ability to manufacture or sell our products and source components, which would result in a substantial loss of sales and revenue and a substantial harm to our operating results. In addition, the geographic concentration of our manufacturing sites could exacerbate the negative impacts resulting from any of these problems. A significant event that impacts any of our manufacturing sites, or the sites of our customers or suppliers, could adversely affect our ability to manufacture or sell our products, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could suffer.
We may incur losses beyond the limits of, or outside the scope of, the coverage of our insurance policies. There can be no assurance that in the future we will be able to maintain existing insurance coverage or that premiums will not increase substantially. Due to market availability, pricing or other reasons, we may elect not to purchase insurance coverage or to purchase only limited coverage. We maintain limited insurance coverage and, in some cases, no coverage at all, for natural disasters and environmental damages, as these types of insurance are sometimes not available or available only at a prohibitive cost. We depend upon TMC to obtain and maintain sufficient property, business interruption and other insurance for Flash Ventures. If TMC fails to do so, we could suffer significant unreimbursable losses, and such failure could also cause Flash Ventures to breach various financing covenants.
We experience sales seasonality and cyclicality, which could cause our operating results to fluctuate. In addition, accurately forecasting demand has become more difficult, which could adversely affect our business and financial results or operating efficiencies.
Sales of computer systems, mobile devices, storage subsystems, gaming consoles and consumer electronics tend to be seasonal and subject to supply-demand cycles, and therefore we expect to continue to experience seasonality and cyclicality in our business as we respond to variations in supply dynamics and customer demand. Changes in seasonal and cyclical supply and demand patterns have made it, and could continue to make it, more difficult for us to forecast demand, especially as a result of the current macroeconomic environment. Changes in the product or channel mix of our business can also impact seasonal and cyclical patterns, adding complexity in forecasting demand. Seasonality and cyclicality also may lead to higher volatility in our stock price. It is difficult for us to evaluate the degree to which seasonality and cyclicality may affect our stock price or business in future periods because of the rate and unpredictability of product transitions, actions by competitors, new product introductions and macroeconomic conditions.
The variety and volume of products we manufacture are based in part on accurately forecasting market and customer demand for our products. Accurately forecasting demand has also become increasingly difficult for us, our customers and our suppliers due to volatility in global economic conditions and industry consolidation, resulting in less availability of historical market data for certain product segments. Further, for many of our OEMs utilizing just-in-time inventory, we do not generally require firm order commitments and instead receive a periodic forecast of requirements, which may prove to be inaccurate. In addition, because our products are designed to be largely interchangeable with competitors’ products, our demand forecasts may be impacted significantly by the strategic actions of our competitors. As forecasting demand becomes more difficult, the risk that our forecasts are not in line with demand increases. If our forecasts exceed actual market demand, we could experience periods of product oversupply, excess inventory, and price decreases, which could impact our sales, ASPs and gross margin, thereby adversely affecting our operating results and our financial condition. If market demand increases significantly beyond our forecasts or beyond our ability to add manufacturing capacity, then we may not be able to satisfy customer product needs, possibly resulting in a loss of market share if our competitors are able to meet customer demands. In addition, some of our components have long lead-times, requiring us to place orders several months in advance of anticipated demand. Such long lead-times increase the risk of excess inventory or loss of sales in the event our forecasts vary substantially from actual demand.
The loss of our key management, staff and skilled employees, the inability to hire and integrate new employees or decisions to realign our business could negatively impact our business prospects.
Our success depends upon the continued contributions of our key management, staff and skilled employees, many of whom would be extremely difficult to replace. Global competition for skilled employees in the technology related industry is intense, and our business success becomes increasingly dependent on our ability to retain our key staff and skilled employees, to implement succession plans for our key management and staff, to attract, integrate and retain new skilled employees, including employees from acquisitions, and to make decisions to realign our business to take advantage of efficiencies or reduce redundancies. Additionally, because a substantial portion of our key employees’ compensation is placed “at risk” and linked to the performance of our business, including through equity compensation, when our operating results are negatively impacted, we may be at a competitive disadvantage for retaining and hiring key management, staff and skilled employees versus other companies that may pay a relatively higher portion of base compensation. If we are unable to hire and retain key management, staff or skilled employees, our operating results would likely be harmed.
If we fail to identify, manage, complete and integrate acquisitions, investment opportunities or other significant transactions, which are a key part of our growth strategy, it may adversely affect our future results.
We seek to be an industry-leading developer, manufacturer and provider of innovative storage solutions, balancing our core hard drive and flash memory business with growing investments in newer areas that we believe will provide us with higher growth opportunities. Acquisitions of, investment opportunities in, or other significant transactions with companies that are complementary to our business are a key part of our overall business strategy. In order to pursue this part of our growth strategy successfully, we must continue to identify attractive acquisition or investment opportunities, successfully complete the transactions, some of which may be large and complex, and manage post-closing issues such as integration of the acquired company or employees. We may not be able to continue to identify or complete appealing acquisition or investment opportunities given the intense competition for these transactions. Even if we identify and complete suitable corporate transactions, we may not be able to successfully address any integration challenges in a timely manner, or at all. There may be difficulties with implementing new systems and processes or with integrating systems and processes of companies with complex operations, which could result in inconsistencies in standards, controls, procedures and policies and may increase the risk that our internal controls are found to be ineffective. Failing to successfully integrate or realign our business to take advantage of efficiencies or reduce redundancies of an acquisition may result in not realizing all or any of the anticipated benefits of the acquisition. In addition, failing to achieve the financial model projections for an acquisition or changes in technology development and related roadmaps following an acquisition may result in the incurrence of impairment charges and other expenses, both of which could adversely impact our results of operations or financial condition. Acquisitions and investments may also result in the issuance of equity securities that may be dilutive to our shareholders and the issuance of additional indebtedness that would put additional pressure on liquidity. Furthermore, we may agree to provide continuing service obligations or enter into other agreements in order to obtain certain regulatory approvals of our corporate transactions, and failure to satisfy these additional obligations could result in our failing to obtain regulatory approvals or the imposition of additional obligations on us, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, new legislation or additional regulations may affect or impair our ability to invest with or in certain other countries or require us to obtain regulatory approvals to do so, including investments in joint ventures, minority investments and outbound technology transfers to certain countries.
Any cost saving initiatives, restructurings or divestitures that we undertake may result in disruptions to our operations and may not deliver the results we expect, which may adversely affect our business.
From time to time, we engage in cost saving initiatives, restructurings and divestitures that may result in workforce reduction and consolidation of our manufacturing or other facilities. As a result of these actions, we may experience a loss of continuity, loss of accumulated knowledge, disruptions to our operations and inefficiency during transitional periods. These actions could also impact employee retention. In addition, we cannot be sure that these actions will be as successful in reducing our overall expenses as we expect, that additional costs will not offset any such reductions or consolidations or that we do not forego future business opportunities as a result of these actions. If our operating costs are higher than we expect or if we do not maintain adequate control of our costs and expenses, our operating results could be adversely affected.
Our high level of debt may adversely impact our liquidity, restrict our operations and ability to respond to business opportunities, and increase our vulnerability to adverse economic and industry conditions.
As of June 28, 2019, our total indebtedness was $10.69 billion in aggregate principal, and we had $2.25 billion of additional borrowing availability under our revolving credit facility.
Our high level of debt could have significant consequences, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions or other general corporate purposes;
requiring a substantial portion of our cash flows to be dedicated to debt service payments instead of other purposes;
imposing financial and other restrictive covenants on our operations, including limiting our ability to (i) declare or pay dividends or repurchase shares of our common stock; (ii) purchase assets, make investments, complete acquisitions, consolidate or merge with or into, or sell all or substantially all of our assets to, another person; (iii) dispose of assets; (iv) incur liens; and (v) enter into transactions with affiliates; and
making us more vulnerable to economic downturns and limiting our ability to withstand competitive pressures or take advantage of new opportunities to grow our business.
Our ability to meet the debt service obligations and to comply with our debt covenants depends on our cash flows and financial performance, which are affected by financial, business, economic and other factors. Failure to meet our debt service obligations or comply with our debt covenants could result in an event of default under the applicable indebtedness. We may be unable to cure, or obtain a waiver of, an event of default or otherwise amend our debt agreements to prevent an event of default thereunder on terms acceptable to us or at all. In that event, the debt holders could accelerate the related debt, which may result in the cross-acceleration or cross-default of other debt, leases or other obligations. We may not have sufficient funds available to repay accelerated indebtedness, and we may be required to refinance all or part of our debt, sell important strategic assets at unfavorable prices, incur additional indebtedness or issue common stock or other equity securities, which we may be unable to do on terms acceptable to us, in amounts sufficient to meet our needs or at all. Our inability to service our debt obligations or refinance our debt could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition. Further, if we are unable to repay, refinance or restructure our secured indebtedness, the holder of such debt could proceed against the collateral securing that indebtedness. Refinancing our indebtedness may also require us to expense previous debt issuance costs or to incur new debt issuance costs.
As our bank debt contains a variable interest rate component based on our corporate credit ratings, a decline in our ratings could result in increased interest rates and debt service obligations. In addition, our ratings impact the cost and availability of future borrowings and, accordingly, our cost of capital. Our ratings reflect the opinions of the ratings agencies as to our financial strength, operating performance and ability to meet our debt obligations. There can be no assurance that we will achieve a particular rating or maintain a particular rating in the future.
Our credit agreement uses LIBOR as a reference rate for our term loans and revolving credit facility, such that the applicable interest rate may, at our option, be calculated based on LIBOR. In July 2017, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, announced that it intends to phase out LIBOR by the end of 2021. In April 2018, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York began publishing a Secured Overnight Funding Rate, which is intended to replace U.S. dollar LIBOR. Plans for alternative reference rates for other currencies have also been announced. At this time, we cannot predict how markets will respond to these proposed alternative rates or the effect of any changes to LIBOR or the discontinuation of LIBOR. If LIBOR is no longer available or if our lenders have increased costs due to changes in LIBOR, we may experience potential increases in interest rates on our variable rate debt, which could adversely impact our interest expense, results of operations and cash flows.
We may from time to time seek to further refinance our substantial indebtedness by issuing additional shares of common stock, which may dilute our existing shareholders, reduce the value of our common stock, or both.
Tax matters may materially affect our financial position and results of operations.
Changes in tax laws in the United States, the European Union and around the globe have impacted and will continue to impact our effective worldwide tax rate, which may materially affect our financial position and results of operations. Further, organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, have published action plans that, if adopted by countries where we do business, could increase our tax obligations in these countries. Due to the large scale of our U.S. and international business activities, many of these enacted and proposed changes to the taxation of our activities could increase our worldwide effective tax rate and harm our financial position and results of operations. Additionally, portions of our operations are subject to a reduced tax rate or are free of tax under various tax holidays that expire in whole or in part from time to time, or may be terminated if certain conditions are not met. Although many of these holidays may be extended when certain conditions are met, we may not be able to meet such conditions. If the tax holidays are not extended, or if we fail to satisfy the conditions of the reduced tax rate, then our effective tax rate could increase in the future.
Our determination of our tax liability in the U.S. and other jurisdictions is subject to review by applicable domestic and foreign tax authorities. For example, as disclosed in Part II, Item 8, Note 13, Income Tax Expense, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we are under examination by the Internal Revenue Service for certain fiscal years and in connection with that examination, we received statutory notices of deficiency seeking certain adjustments to income and have filed petitions with the U.S. Tax Court. Although we believe our tax positions are properly supported, the final timing and resolution of any tax examinations are subject to significant uncertainty and could result in litigation or the payment of significant amounts to the applicable tax authority in order to resolve examination of our tax positions, which could result in an increase or decrease of our current estimate of unrecognized tax benefits and may negatively impact our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
Sales in the distribution channel and to the retail market are important to our business, and if we fail to respond to demand changes within these markets, or maintain and grow our applicable market share, our operating results could suffer.
Our distribution customers typically sell to small computer manufacturers, dealers, systems integrators and other resellers. We face significant competition in this channel as a result of limited product qualification programs and a significant focus on price and availability of product. In addition, the PC market is experiencing a shift to notebook and other mobile devices and, as a result, more computing devices are being delivered to the market as complete systems, which could weaken the distribution market. If we fail to respond to changes in demand in the distribution market, our operating results could suffer. Additionally, if the distribution market weakens as a result of a slowing PC growth rate, technology transitions or a significant change in consumer buying preference, or if we experience significant price declines due to demand changes in the distribution channel, our operating results would be adversely affected. Negative changes in the credit-worthiness or the ability to access credit, or the bankruptcy or shutdown of any of our significant retail or distribution partners would harm our revenue and our ability to collect outstanding receivable balances.
A significant portion of our sales is also made through retailers. Our success in the retail market depends in large part on our ability to maintain our brand image and corporate reputation and to expand into and gain market acceptance of our products in multiple retail market channels. Particularly in the retail market, adverse publicity, whether or not justified, or allegations of product or service quality issues, even if false or unfounded, could damage our reputation and cause our customers to choose products offered by our competitors. If customers no longer maintain a preference for our product brands or if our retailers are not successful in selling our products, our operating results may be adversely affected.
Loss of market share with or by a key customer, or consolidation among our customer base, could harm our operating results.
During the fiscal year ended June 28, 2019, 45% of our revenue came from sales to our top 10 customers. These customers have a variety of suppliers to choose from and therefore can make substantial demands on us, including demands on product pricing and on contractual terms, often resulting in the allocation of risk to us as the supplier. Our ability to maintain strong relationships with our principal customers is essential to our future performance. We have experienced and may in the future experience events such as the loss of a key customer, prohibition or restriction of sales to a key customer by law, regulation or other government action, reductions in orders of our products by a key customer, customer requirements to reduce our prices before we are able to reduce costs or the acquisition of a key customer by one of our competitors. These events would likely harm our operating results and financial condition.
Additionally, if there is consolidation among our customer base, our customers may be able to command increased leverage in negotiating prices and other terms of sale, which could adversely affect our profitability. Consolidation among our customer base may also lead to reduced demand for our products, increased customer pressure on our prices, replacement of our products by the combined entity with those of our competitors and cancellations of orders, each of which could harm our operating results.
Also, the storage ecosystem is constantly evolving, and our traditional customer base is changing. Fewer companies now hold greater market share for certain applications and services, such as mobile, social media, shopping and streaming media. As a result, the competitive landscape is changing, giving these companies increased leverage in negotiating prices and other terms of sale, which could adversely affect our profitability. In addition, the changes in our evolving customer base create new selling and distribution patterns to which we must adapt. To remain competitive, we must respond to these changes by ensuring we have proper scale in this evolving market, as well as offer products that meet the technological requirements of this customer base at competitive pricing points. To the extent we are not successful in adequately responding to these changes, our operating results and financial condition could be harmed.
Our operating results fluctuate, sometimes significantly, from period to period due to many factors, which may result in a significant decline in our stock price.
Our quarterly operating results may be subject to significant fluctuations as a result of a number of other factors including:
weakness in demand for one or more product categories;
the timing of orders from and shipment of products to major customers or loss of major customers;
reductions in the ASPs of our products and lower margins;
excess output, capacity or inventory, resulting in lower ASPs, financial charges or impairments, or insufficient output, capacity or inventory, resulting in lost revenue opportunities;
inability to successfully implement technology transitions or other technology developments, or other failure to reduce product costs to keep pace with reduction in ASPs;
manufacturing delays or interruptions;
delays in design wins or customer qualifications, acceptance by customers of competing products in lieu of our products;
variations in the cost of and lead times for components for our products, disruptions of our supply chain;
increase in costs due to warranty claims; and
higher costs as a result of currency exchange rate fluctuations.
We often ship a high percentage of our total quarterly sales in the third month of the quarter, which makes it difficult for us to forecast our financial results before the end of the quarter. As a result of the above or other factors, our forecast of operating results for the quarter may differ materially from our actual financial results. If our results of operations fail to meet the expectations of analysts or investors, it could cause an immediate and significant decline in our stock price.
If our technology infrastructure, systems or products are compromised, damaged or interrupted by cyber attacks, data security breaches, other security problems, design defects or sustain system failures, our operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected.
We experience cyber attacks of varying degrees on our technology infrastructure and systems and, as a result, unauthorized parties have obtained in the past, and may in the future obtain, access to our computer systems and networks, including cloud-based platforms. The technology infrastructure and systems of our suppliers, vendors, service providers, cloud solution providers and partners have in the past experienced and may in the future experience such attacks. Cyber attacks can include computer viruses, computer denial-of-service attacks, worms, and other malicious software programs or other attacks, covert introduction of malware to computers and networks, impersonation of authorized users, and efforts to discover and exploit any design flaws, bugs, security vulnerabilities or security weaknesses, as well as intentional or unintentional acts by employees or other insiders with access privileges, intentional acts of vandalism or fraud by third parties and sabotage. In some instances, efforts to correct vulnerabilities or prevent attacks may reduce the performance of our computer systems and networks, which could negatively impact our business. We believe cyber attack attempts are increasing in number and that cyber attackers are developing increasingly sophisticated systems and means to not only attack systems, but also to evade detection or to obscure their activities.
Our products are also targets for cyber attacks, including those products utilized in cloud-based environments as well as our cloud service offerings. While some of our products contain encryption or security algorithms to protect third-party content or user-generated data stored on our products, these products could still be hacked or the encryption schemes could be compromised, breached, or circumvented by motivated and sophisticated attackers. Further, our products contain sophisticated hardware and operating system software and applications that may contain security problems, security vulnerabilities, or defects in design or manufacture, including “bugs” and other problems that could interfere with the intended operation of our products. To the extent our products are hacked or the encryption schemes are compromised or breached, this could harm our business by requiring us to employ additional resources to fix the errors or defects, exposing us to litigation and indemnification claims and hurting our reputation.
If efforts to breach our infrastructure, systems or products are successful or we are unable to protect against these risks, we could suffer interruptions, delays, or cessation of operations of our systems, and loss or misuse of proprietary or confidential information, IP, or sensitive or personal information. Breaches of our infrastructure, systems or products could also cause our customers and other affected third parties to suffer loss or misuse of proprietary or confidential information, IP, or sensitive or personal information, and could harm our relationships with customers and other third parties. As a result, we could experience additional costs, indemnification claims, litigation, and damage to our brand and reputation. All of these consequences could harm our reputation and our business and materially and adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.
We are subject to laws, rules, and regulations relating to the collection, use, sharing, and security of third-party data including personal data, and our failure to comply with these laws, rules and regulations could subject us to proceedings by governmental entities or others and cause us to incur penalties, significant legal liability, or loss of customers, loss of revenue, and reputational harm.
We are subject to laws, rules, and regulations relating to the collection, use, and security of third-party data including data that relates to or identifies an individual person. In many cases, these laws apply not only to third-party transactions, but also to transfers of information between us and our subsidiaries, and among us, our subsidiaries and other parties with which we have commercial relations. Our possession and use of third-party data, including personal data and employee data in conducting our business, subjects us to legal and regulatory burdens that may require us to notify vendors, customers or employees or other parties with which we have commercial relations of a data security breach and to respond to regulatory inquiries and to enforcement proceedings. Global privacy and data protection legislation, enforcement, and policy activity in this area are rapidly expanding and evolving, and may be inconsistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Compliance requirements and even our inadvertent failure to comply with applicable laws may cause us to incur substantial costs, subject us to proceedings by governmental entities or others, and cause us to incur penalties or other significant legal liability, or lead us to change our business practices.
We are subject to risks related to product defects, which could result in product recalls or epidemic failures and could subject us to warranty claims in excess of our warranty provisions or which are greater than anticipated, litigation or indemnification claims.
We warrant the majority of our products for periods of one to five years. We test our products in our manufacturing facilities through a variety of means. However, our testing may fail to reveal defects in our products that may not become apparent until after the products have been sold into the market. In addition, our products may be used in a manner that is not intended or anticipated by us, resulting in potential liability. Accordingly, there is a risk that product defects will occur, including as a result of third-party components or applications that we incorporate in our products, which could require a product recall. Product recalls can be expensive to implement. As part of a product recall, we may be required or choose to replace the defective product. Moreover, there is a risk that product defects may trigger an epidemic failure clause in a customer agreement. If an epidemic failure occurs, we may be required to replace or refund the value of the defective product and to cover certain other costs associated with the consequences of the epidemic failure. In addition, product defects, product recalls or epidemic failures may cause damage to our reputation or customer relationships, lost revenue, indemnification for a recall of our customers’ products, warranty claims, litigation or loss of market share with our customers, including our OEM and original design manufacturers (“ODM”) customers. Our business liability insurance may be inadequate or future coverage may be unavailable on acceptable terms, which could adversely impact our operating results and financial condition.
Our standard warranties contain limits on damages and exclusions of liability for consequential damages and for misuse, improper installation, alteration, accident or mishandling while in the possession of someone other than us. We record an accrual for estimated warranty costs at the time revenue is recognized. We may incur additional expenses if our warranty provision do not reflect the actual cost of resolving issues related to defects in our products, whether as a result of a product recall, epidemic failure or otherwise. If these additional expenses are significant, it could adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
We are subject to state, federal and international legal and regulatory requirements, such as environmental, labor, trade, health, safety, anti-corruption and tax regulations, customers’ standards of corporate citizenship, and industry and coalition standards, such as those established by the Responsible Business Alliance (“RBA”), and compliance with those requirements could cause an increase in our operating costs and failure to comply may harm our business.
We are subject to, and may become subject to additional, state, federal and international laws and regulations governing our environmental, labor, trade, health, safety, anti-corruption and tax practices. These laws and regulations, particularly those applicable to our international operations, are or may be complex, extensive and subject to change. We will need to ensure that we and our suppliers, customers and partners timely comply with such laws and regulations, which may result in an increase in our operating costs. Legislation has been, and may in the future be, enacted in locations where we manufacture or sell our products, which could impair our ability to conduct business in certain jurisdictions or with certain customers and harm our operating results. In addition, climate change and financial reform legislation is a significant topic of discussion and has generated and may continue to generate federal, international or other regulatory responses in the near future. If we or our suppliers, customers or partners fail to timely comply with applicable legislation, certain customers may refuse to purchase our products or we may face increased operating costs as a result of taxes, fines or penalties, or legal liability and reputational damage, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.
In connection with our compliance with environmental laws and regulations, as well as our compliance with industry and coalition environmental initiatives, such as those established by the RBA, the standards of business conduct required by some of our customers, and our commitment to sound corporate citizenship in all aspects of our business, we could incur substantial compliance and operating costs and be subject to disruptions to our operations and logistics. In addition, if we or our suppliers, customers or partners were found to be in violation of these laws or noncompliant with these initiatives or standards of conduct, we could be subject to governmental fines, liability to our customers and damage to our reputation and corporate brand, which could cause our financial condition and operating results to suffer.
We and certain of our officers are at times involved in litigation, investigations and governmental proceedings, which may be costly, may divert the efforts of our key personnel and could result in adverse court rulings, fines or penalties, which could materially harm our business.
We are involved in litigation, including antitrust and commercial matters, putative securities class action suits and other actions. We are the plaintiff in some of these actions and the defendant in others. Some of the actions seek injunctive relief, including injunctions against the sale of our products, and substantial monetary damages, which if granted or awarded, could materially harm our business, financial condition and operating results. From time to time, we may also be the subject of inquiries, requests for information, investigations and actions by government and regulatory agencies regarding our businesses. Any such matters could result in material adverse consequences to our results of operations, financial condition or ability to conduct our business, including fines, penalties or restrictions on our business activities.
Litigation is subject to inherent risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations. In the event of an adverse outcome in any litigation, investigation or governmental proceeding, we could be required to pay substantial damages, fines or penalties and cease certain practices or activities, including the manufacture, use and sale of products. With or without merit, such matters can be complex, can extend for a protracted period of time, can be very expensive and the expense can be unpredictable. Litigation initiated by us could also result in counter-claims against us, which could increase the costs associated with the litigation and result in our payment of damages or other judgments against us. In addition, litigation, investigations or governmental proceedings and any related publicity may divert the efforts and attention of some of our key personnel and may also harm the market prices of our securities.
We may be obligated to indemnify our current or former directors or employees, or former directors or employees of companies that we have acquired, in connection with litigation, investigations or governmental proceedings. These liabilities could be substantial and may include, among other things: the costs of defending lawsuits against these individuals; the cost of defending shareholder derivative suits; the cost of governmental, law enforcement or regulatory investigations or proceedings; civil or criminal fines and penalties; legal and other expenses; and expenses associated with the remedial measures, if any, which may be imposed.
The nature of our industry and its reliance on IP and other proprietary information subjects us and our suppliers, customers and partners to the risk of significant litigation.
The data storage industry has been characterized by significant litigation. This includes litigation relating to patent and other IP rights, product liability claims and other types of litigation. We have historically been involved in frequent disputes regarding patent and other IP rights, and we have in the past received, and we may in the future receive, communications from third parties asserting that certain of our products, processes or technologies infringe upon their patent rights, copyrights, trademark rights or other IP rights. We may also receive claims of potential infringement if we attempt to license IP to others. IP risks increase when we enter into new markets where we have little or no IP protection as a defense against litigation. The complexity of the technology involved and the uncertainty of IP litigation increase the IP risks we face. Litigation can be expensive, lengthy and disruptive to normal business operations. Moreover, the results of litigation are inherently uncertain and may result in adverse rulings or decisions. We may be subject to injunctions, enter into settlements or be subject to judgments that may, individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or operating results.
If we incorporate third-party technology into our products or if claims or actions are asserted against us for alleged infringement of the IP of others, we may be required to obtain a license or cross-license, modify our existing technology or design a new non-infringing technology. Such licenses or design modifications can be extremely costly. We evaluate notices of alleged patent infringement and notices of patents from patent holders that we receive from time to time. We may decide to settle a claim or action against us, which settlement could be costly. We may also be liable for any past infringement. If there is an adverse ruling against us in an infringement lawsuit, an injunction could be issued barring production or sale of any infringing product. It could also result in a damage award equal to a reasonable royalty or lost profits or, if there is a finding of willful infringement, treble damages. Any of these results would increase our costs and harm our operating results. In addition, our suppliers, customers and partners are subject to similar risks of litigation, and a material, adverse ruling against a supplier, customer or partner could negatively impact our business.
Moreover, from time to time, we agree to indemnify certain of our suppliers and customers for alleged IP infringement. The scope of such indemnity varies but may include indemnification for direct and consequential damages and expenses, including attorneys’ fees. We may be engaged in litigation as a result of these indemnification obligations. Third party claims for patent infringement are excluded from coverage under our insurance policies. A future obligation to indemnify our customers or suppliers may harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
Our reliance on IP and other proprietary information subjects us to the risk that these key ingredients of our business could be copied by competitors.
Our success depends, in significant part, on the proprietary nature of our technology, including non-patentable IP such as our process technology. We primarily rely on patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws, as well as nondisclosure agreements and other methods, to protect our proprietary technologies and processes. There can be no assurance that our existing patents will continue to be held valid, if challenged, or that they will have sufficient scope or strength to protect us. It is also possible that competitors or other unauthorized third parties may obtain, copy, use or disclose, illegally or otherwise, our proprietary technologies and processes, despite our efforts to protect our proprietary technologies and processes. If a competitor is able to reproduce or otherwise capitalize on our technology despite the safeguards we have in place, it may be difficult, expensive or impossible for us to obtain necessary legal protection. There are entities whom we believe may infringe our IP. Enforcement of our rights often requires litigation. If we bring a patent infringement action and are not successful, our competitors would be able to use similar technology to compete with us. Moreover, the defendant in such an action may successfully countersue us for infringement of their patents or assert a counterclaim that our patents are invalid or unenforceable. Also, the laws of some foreign countries may not protect our IP to the same extent as do U.S. laws. In addition to patent protection of IP rights, we consider elements of our product designs and processes to be proprietary and confidential. We rely upon employee, consultant and vendor non-disclosure agreements and contractual provisions and a system of internal safeguards to protect our proprietary information. However, any of our registered or unregistered IP rights may be challenged or exploited by others in the industry, which could harm our operating results.
The success of our branded products depends in part on the positive image that consumers have of our brands. We believe the popularity of our brands makes them a target of counterfeiting or imitation, with third parties attempting to pass off counterfeit products as our products. Any occurrence of counterfeiting, imitation or confusion with our brands could adversely affect our reputation and impair the value of our brands, which in turn could negatively impact sales of our branded products, our share and our gross margin, as well as increase our administrative costs related to brand protection and counterfeit detection and prosecution.
Flash Ventures’ equipment lease agreements contain covenants and other cancellation events, and cancellation of the leases would harm our business, operating results and financial condition.
Flash Ventures sells to and leases back a portion of its equipment from a consortium of financial institutions. Most of the lease obligations are guaranteed 50% by us and 50% by TMC. Some of the lease obligations are guaranteed in full by us. As of June 28, 2019, the portion of outstanding obligations covered by our guarantees totaled approximately $1.58 billion, based upon the Japanese yen to U.S. dollar exchange rate at June 28, 2019. The leases are subject to customary covenants and cancellation events that relate to Flash Ventures and each of the guarantors. Cancellation events include, among other things, an assignment of all or a substantial part of a guarantor’s business and acceleration of other monetary debts of Flash Ventures or a guarantor above a specified threshold. If a cancellation event were to occur, Flash Ventures would be required to negotiate a resolution with the other parties to the lease transactions to avoid cancellation and acceleration of the lease obligations. Such resolution could include, among other things, supplementary security to be supplied by us, increased interest rates or waiver fees. If a resolution is not reached, we may be required to pay all of the outstanding lease obligations covered by our guarantees, which would significantly reduce our cash position and may force us to seek additional financing, which may not be available on terms acceptable to us, if at all.
Any decisions to reduce or discontinue paying cash dividends to our shareholders or to reduce or discontinue repurchases of shares of our common stock pursuant to our previously announced stock repurchase program could cause the market price for our common stock to decline.
We may modify, suspend or cancel our cash dividend policy in any manner and at any time. In addition, we may start, stop or vary repurchases of shares of our common stock as we deem appropriate and as market conditions allow. Any reduction or discontinuance by us of the payment of quarterly cash dividends or the repurchases of our common stock pursuant to our stock repurchase program could cause the market price of our common stock to decline. Moreover, in the event our payment of quarterly cash dividends or repurchases of shares of our common stock are reduced or discontinued, our failure or inability to resume paying cash dividends or repurchasing shares of our common stock at historical levels could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
Fluctuations in currency exchange rates as a result of our international operations may negatively affect our operating results.
Because we manufacture and sell our products abroad, our revenue, cost of revenue, margins, operating costs and cash flows are impacted by fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. If the U.S. dollar exhibits sustained weakness against most foreign currencies, the U.S. dollar equivalents of unhedged manufacturing costs could increase because a significant portion of our production costs are foreign-currency denominated. Conversely, there would not be an offsetting impact to revenues since revenues are substantially U.S. dollar denominated. Additionally, we negotiate and procure some of our component requirements in U.S. dollars from non-U.S. based vendors. If the U.S. dollar weakens against other foreign currencies, some of our component suppliers may increase the price they charge for their components in order to maintain an equivalent profit margin. In addition, our purchases of flash-based memory from Flash Ventures and our investment in Flash Ventures are denominated in Japanese yen. If the Japanese yen appreciates against the U.S. dollar, our cost of purchasing flash-based memory wafers and the cost to us of future capital funding of Flash Ventures would increase. If any of these events occur, they could have a negative impact on our operating results.
Prices for our products are substantially U.S. dollar denominated, even when sold to customers that are located outside the U.S. Therefore, as a substantial portion of our sales are from countries outside the U.S., fluctuations in currency exchanges rates, most notably the strengthening of the U.S. dollar against other foreign currencies, contribute to variations in sales of products in impacted jurisdictions and could adversely impact demand and revenue growth. In addition, currency variations can adversely affect margins on sales of our products in countries outside the U.S.
We attempt to manage the impact of foreign currency exchange rate changes by, among other things, entering into short-term, foreign exchange contracts. However, these contracts may not cover our full exposure, and can be canceled by the counterparty if currency controls are put in place. Thus, our decisions and hedging strategy with respect to currency risks may not be successful and harm our operating results. Further, the ability to enter into foreign exchange contracts with financial institutions is based upon our available credit from such institutions and compliance with covenants and other restrictions. Operating losses, third party downgrades of our credit rating or instability in the worldwide financial markets could impact our ability to effectively manage our foreign currency exchange rate risk. Hedging also exposes us to the credit risk of our counterparty financial institutions.
Increases in our customers’ credit risk could result in credit losses and term extensions under existing contracts with customers with credit losses could result in an increase in our operating costs.
Some of our OEM customers have adopted a subcontractor model that requires us to contract directly with companies, such as ODMs, that provide manufacturing and fulfillment services to our OEM customers. Because these subcontractors are generally not as well capitalized as our direct OEM customers, this subcontractor model exposes us to increased credit risks. Our agreements with our OEM customers may not permit us to increase our product prices to alleviate this increased credit risk. Additionally, as we attempt to expand our OEM and distribution channel sales into emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, the customers with the most success in these regions may have relatively short operating histories, making it more difficult for us to accurately assess the associated credit risks. Any credit losses we may suffer as a result of these increased risks, or as a result of credit losses from any significant customer, especially in situations where there are term extensions under existing contracts with such customers, would increase our operating costs, which may negatively impact our operating results.
We have made and continue to make a number of estimates and assumptions relating to our consolidated financial reporting, and actual results may differ significantly from our estimates and assumptions.
We have made and continue to make a number of estimates and assumptions relating to our consolidated financial reporting. The highly technical nature of our products and the rapidly changing market conditions with which we deal means that actual results may differ significantly from our estimates and assumptions. These changes have impacted our financial results in the past and may continue to do so in the future. Key estimates and assumptions for us include:
price protection adjustments and other sales promotions and allowances on products sold to retailers, resellers and distributors;
inventory adjustments for write-down of inventories to lower of cost or net realizable value;
testing of goodwill and other long-lived assets for impairment;
accruals for product returns;
accruals for litigation and other contingencies;
liabilities for unrecognized tax benefits; and
provisional estimates related to tax reform.
In addition, changes in existing accounting or taxation rules or practices, new accounting pronouncements or taxation rules, or varying interpretations of current accounting pronouncements or taxation practice could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
The market price of our common stock is volatile.
The market price of our common stock has been, and may continue to be, volatile. Factors that may significantly affect the market price of our common stock include the following:
actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results, including those resulting from the seasonality of our business;
perceptions about our strategic relationships and joint ventures, access to supply of flash-based memory, new technologies and technology transitions;
announcements of technological innovations or new products by us or our competitors, which may decrease the volume and profitability of sales of our existing products and increase the risk of inventory obsolescence;
strategic actions by us or competitors, such as acquisitions and restructurings;
periods of severe pricing pressures due to oversupply or price erosion resulting from competitive pressures or industry consolidation;
proposed or adopted regulatory changes or developments or anticipated or pending investigations, proceedings or litigation that involve or affect us or our competitors;
failure to meet analysts’ revenue or earnings estimates or changes in financial estimates or publication of research reports and recommendations by financial analysts relating specifically to us or the storage industry in general;
announcements relating to dividends and share repurchases; and
macroeconomic conditions that affect the market generally and, in particular, developments related to market conditions for our industry.
In addition, the sale of substantial amounts of shares of our common stock, or the perception that these sales may occur, could adversely affect the market price of our common stock. Further, the stock market is subject to fluctuations in the stock prices and trading volumes that affect the market prices of the stock of public companies, including us. These broad market fluctuations have adversely affected and may continue to adversely affect the market price of shares of our common stock. For example, expectations concerning general economic conditions may cause the stock market to experience extreme price and volume fluctuations from time to time that particularly affect the stock prices of many high technology companies. These fluctuations may be unrelated to the operating performance of the companies.
Securities class action lawsuits are often brought against companies after periods of volatility in the market price of their securities. A number of such suits have been filed against us in the past, and should any new lawsuits be filed, such matters could result in substantial costs and a diversion of resources and management’s attention.
Further, a sustained decline in our stock price or market capitalization are among the factors that may be considered a change in circumstances indicating that the carrying value of our long-lived assets or goodwill may be impaired and, if an impairment review is triggered, could require us to record a significant charge to earnings in our Consolidated Financial Statements.
Our cash balances and investment portfolio are subject to various risks, any of which could adversely impact our financial position.
Given the international footprint of our business, we have both domestic and international cash balances. From time to time, our investment portfolio may include various holdings, security types, and maturities. Our investment portfolio is subject to general credit, liquidity, market, political, sovereign and interest rate risks, which may be exacerbated by unusual events that affect global financial markets. Our investment portfolio may include investment grade corporate securities, bank deposits, asset backed securities and U.S. government and agency securities. If global credit and equity markets experience prolonged periods of decline, or if there is a downgrade of the U.S. government credit rating due to an actual or threatened default on government debt, our investment portfolio may be adversely impacted and we could determine that our investments may experience an other-than-temporary decline in fair value, requiring impairment charges that could adversely affect our financial results. A failure of any of these financial institutions in which deposits exceed Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) limits could also have an adverse impact on our financial position.
In addition, if we are unable to generate sufficient cash flows from operations to repay our indebtedness, fund acquisitions, pay dividends, or repurchase shares of our common stock, we may choose or be required to increase our borrowings, if available, or to repatriate funds to the U.S. at an additional tax cost. We must comply with regulations regarding the conversion and distribution of funds earned in the local currencies of various countries. If we cannot comply with these or other applicable regulations, we may face increased difficulties in using cash generated in these countries.
Item 1B.Unresolved Staff Comments
Our principal executive offices are located in San Jose, California. Our leased facilities are occupied under leases that expire at various times through 2034. Our principal manufacturing, R&D, marketing and administrative facilities as of June 28, 2019 were as follows:
Buildings Owned or Leased
Approximate Square Footage
Manufacturing of head wafers and R&D
R&D, administrative, marketing and sales
R&D, marketing and sales, and administrative
Owned and Leased
Manufacturing of head wafers, head, media and product development, R&D, administrative, marketing and sales
Assembly and test of SSDs
Owned and Leased
Manufacturing of media
Manufacturing of substrates
Manufacturing and development of substrates
Assembly and test of SSDs, manufacturing of media, and R&D
Manufacturing of HGAs and slider fabrication
Slider fabrication, manufacturing of HDDs and HGAs, and R&D
Manufacturing of HDDs
Owned and Leased
R&D and marketing
R&D and marketing
R&D and marketing
We also lease office space in various other locations throughout the world primarily for R&D, sales, operations, administration and technical support. We believe our present facilities are adequate for our current needs, although we upgrade our facilities from time to time to meet anticipated future technological and market requirements. In general, new manufacturing facilities can be developed and become operational within approximately nine to eighteen months should we require such additional facilities.
Item 3.Legal Proceedings
For a description of our legal proceedings, see Part II, Item 8, Note 16, Legal Proceedings, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which is incorporated by reference in response to this item.
Item 4.Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5.Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information for Common Stock
Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (“Nasdaq”) under the symbol “WDC.” The approximate number of holders of record of our common stock as of August 14, 2019 was 947.
Repurchases of Equity Securities
There were no repurchases by us of shares of our common stock during the quarter ended June 28, 2019.
Stock Performance Graph
The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return of our common stock with the cumulative total return of the S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones U.S. Technology Hardware & Equipment Index for the five years ended June 28, 2019. The graph assumes that $100 was invested in our common stock at the close of market on June 27, 2014 and that all dividends were reinvested. Stockholder returns over the indicated period should not be considered indicative of future stockholder returns.
TOTAL RETURN TO STOCKHOLDERS
(Assumes $100 investment on June 27, 2014)
Total Return Analysis
Western Digital Corporation
S&P 500 Index
Dow Jones U.S. Technology Hardware & Equipment Index
The stock performance graph shall not be deemed soliciting material or to be filed with the SEC or subject to Regulation 14A or 14C under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, nor shall it be incorporated by reference into any past or future filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, except to the extent we specifically request that it be treated as soliciting material or specifically incorporate it by reference into a filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Item 6.Selected Financial Data
This selected consolidated financial data should be read together with the Consolidated Financial Statements and related Notes contained in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K, as well as the section of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
(in millions, except per share and employee data)
Net income (loss)
Income (loss) per common share:
Cash dividends declared per common share
Number of employees (1)
Excludes temporary employees and contractors.
Results for Tegile Systems, Inc., Upthere, Inc., SanDisk Corporation and Amplidata NV, which were acquired on September 15, 2017, August 25, 2017, May 12, 2016 and March 9, 2015, respectively, are included in our operating results only after their respective dates of acquisition.
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations
We are a leading developer, manufacturer and provider of data storage devices and solutions that address the evolving needs of the information technology (“IT”) industry and the infrastructure that enables the proliferation of data in virtually every other industry. We create environments for data to thrive. We drive the innovation needed to help customers capture, preserve, access and transform an ever-increasing diversity of data. Everywhere data lives, from advanced data centers to mobile sensors to personal devices, our industry-leading solutions deliver the possibilities of data.
Our broad portfolio of technology and products address the following key end markets: Client Devices; Data Center Devices and Solutions; and Client Solutions. We also generate license and royalty revenue from our extensive intellectual property (“IP”), which is included in each of these three end market categories.
Our fiscal year ends on the Friday nearest to June 30 and typically consists of 52 weeks. Approximately every five to six years, we report a 53-week fiscal year to align the fiscal year with the foregoing policy. Fiscal years 2019, which ended on June 28, 2019, 2018, which ended on June 29, 2018, and 2017, which ended on June 30, 2017, are each comprised of 52 weeks, with all quarters presented consisting of 13 weeks. Fiscal year 2020, which ends on July 3, 2020, will be comprised of 53 weeks, with the first quarter consisting of 14 weeks and the remaining quarters consisting of 13 weeks each.
Through our three business ventures with Toshiba Memory Corporation (“TMC”), referred to as “Flash Ventures”, we and TMC operate flash-based memory wafer manufacturing facilities in Japan. We are obligated to pay for variable costs incurred in producing our share of Flash Ventures’ flash-based memory wafer supply, based on our three month forecast, which generally equals 50% of Flash Ventures’ output. In addition, we are obligated to pay for half of Flash Ventures’ fixed costs regardless of the output we choose to purchase. We are also obligated to fund 49.9% to 50% of Flash Ventures’ capital investments to the extent that Flash Ventures’ operating cash flow is insufficient to fund these investments.
Since its inception, Flash Ventures has been based in a manufacturing site in Yokkaichi, Japan, which currently includes five wafer fabrication facilities. In May 2019, we entered into additional agreements with TMC to extend Flash Ventures to a new wafer fabrication facility, known as “K1,” located in Kitakami, Japan. The primary purpose of K1 is to provide clean room space to continue the transition of existing flash-based wafer capacity to newer technology nodes. Output from the initial production line at K1 is expected in the second half of fiscal year 2020. Meaningful output from K1 is not expected to begin until the first half of fiscal year 2021. Our share of the initial commitment for K1 is expected to result in equipment investments, relocation costs and start-up costs totaling approximately $660 million, to be incurred primarily through the second half of fiscal year 2020. We also agreed to prepay an aggregate of approximately $360 million over a 3-year period beginning in the first half of fiscal year 2020 toward K1 building depreciation, to be credited against future wafer charges.
The flash industry is characterized by cyclicality as it responds to variations in customers’ demand for products and manages production capacity to meet that demand. As technology conversions have matured and manufacturing yields have improved, flash supply has increased relative to demand. As a result, average selling price per gigabyte of flash-based products has declined in recent quarters.
Flash Ventures has historically operated near 100% of its manufacturing capacity. As a result of flash business conditions, we chose to temporarily reduce our utilization of our share of Flash Ventures’ manufacturing capacity at the Yokkaichi site to an abnormally low level through the end of fiscal year 2019 to more closely align our flash-based wafer supply with the projected demand. As a result of this temporary reduction to abnormally low production levels, we incurred costs of $264 million associated with the reduction in utilization, which was recorded as a charge to cost of revenue in the year ended June 28, 2019.
Production levels at the Yokkaichi site have also been reduced as a result of an unexpected power outage incident that occurred in the Yokkaichi region on June 15, 2019. The power outage incident impacted the facilities and process tools and resulted in the damage of flash wafers in production. We expect the incident to result in a reduction of our flash wafer availability of less than 6 exabytes, the majority of which is expected to be contained in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020. As a result of this power outage incident, we incurred aggregate charges of $145 million recorded in cost of revenue for the year ended June 28, 2019, which primarily consisted of the write-off of damaged inventory and unabsorbed manufacturing overhead costs. We expect additional charges of less than $100 million to be recorded in cost of revenue by the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2020. We are pursuing recovery of our losses associated with this event; however, the amount of any recovery cannot be estimated at this time.
Cost and Expense Reduction Actions
During fiscal 2019, we implemented actions to better align our cost and expense structure to near-term business conditions. These actions included accelerating the closure of our HDD manufacturing facility in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, reducing other HDD manufacturing costs and other measures to reduce our costs and expenses. We incurred costs of $166 million for the year ended June 28, 2019 in connection with the implementation of these actions and we expect to reduce costs of revenue and operating expenses by $800 million on an annualized basis. The reductions are split approximately equally between cost of revenue and operating expenses. The level of our cost of revenue and operating expenses in any particular period may vary based on differing levels of incentive cash compensation, payroll tax increases, and unexpected or non-recurring costs or expenses, as well as the impact of a 14th week in the first quarter of fiscal 2020.
Results of Operations
Summary Comparison of 2019, 2018 and 2017
The following table sets forth, for the periods presented, selected summary information from our Consolidated Statements of Operations by dollars and percentage of net revenue(1):
(in millions, except percentages)
Cost of revenue
Research and development
Selling, general and administrative
Employee termination, asset impairment, and other charges
Total operating expenses
Interest and other income (expense):
Other income, net
Total interest and other expense, net
Income (loss) before taxes
Income tax expense
Net income (loss)
Percentages may not total due to rounding.
The following table sets forth, for the periods presented, summary information regarding our revenue(1):
(in millions, except percentages)
Revenue by Geography:
Europe, Middle East and Africa
Revenue by End Market:
Data Center Devices & Solutions
Revenue by Form Factor:
Revenue for 2019 is presented in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 606. Revenue for 2018 and 2017 is presented in accordance with ASC 605. For information related to our transition from ASC 605 to ASC 606, see Part II, Item 8, Note 1, Organization and Basis of Presentation, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
For each of 2019, 2018 and 2017, no single customer accounted for 10% or more of our net revenue. For 2019, 2018 and 2017, our top 10 customers accounted for 45%, 42% and 36% of our net revenue, respectively.
Fiscal Year 2019 Net Revenue and Gross Margin Compared to Fiscal Year 2018 Net Revenue and Gross Margin
Net Revenue. Net revenue decreased $4.08 billion, or 19.8%, in 2019 compared to 2018, driven by lower average selling prices per gigabyte for flash-based products and lower sales of HDD products. Specifically, Client Devices revenue for the year ended June 28, 2019 decreased 19.9% year over year, primarily driven by lower sales of client HDD products and flash-based mobile products and lower average selling prices per gigabyte of flash-based products. Our revenue for Data Center Devices and Solutions for the year ended June 28, 2019 decreased 17.1% year over year, driven primarily by lower sales of our enterprise SSDs and existing performance enterprise HDDs while our revenue from capacity enterprise HDDs products was similar to the previous year. Client Solutions revenue for the year ended June 28, 2019 decreased 23.0% year over year, primarily driven by lower average selling prices per gigabyte of flash-based products due to the competitive market landscape and lower sales of retail HDD attributed to a lower HDD market with a shift to SSDs.
Changes in net revenue by geography generally reflect normal fluctuations in market demand and competitive dynamics.
Consistent with standard industry practice, we have sales incentive and marketing programs that provide customers with price protection and other incentives or reimbursements that are recorded as a reduction to gross revenue. For 2019, 2018 and 2017, these programs represented 15%, 12% and 12% of gross revenue, respectively, and adjustments to revenue due to changes in accruals for these programs have generally averaged less than 1% of gross revenue over the last three fiscal years. The amounts attributed to our sales incentive and marketing programs generally vary according to several factors including industry conditions, list pricing strategies, seasonal demand, competitor actions, channel mix and overall availability of products. Changes in future customer demand and market conditions may require us to adjust our incentive programs as a percentage of gross revenue.
Gross Profit and Gross Margin. Gross profit decreased $3.95 billion, or 51%, as compared to 2018, primarily as a result of lower average selling prices per gigabyte for flash-based products due to oversupply and competition, flash manufacturing underutilization charges of $264 million, charges related to the power outage incident of $145 million and a charge of $110 million primarily to reduce component inventory to net realizable value for flash-based multi-chip package products that include externally-sourced dynamic random access memory products. These charges were partially offset by lower amortization expense on acquired intangible assets.
Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Expenses Compared to Fiscal Year 2018 Operating Expenses
Research and development (“R&D”) expense decreased $218 million, or 9%, compared to 2018, primarily due to lower variable and stock-based compensation expense, as well as savings realized from our expense reduction actions.
Selling, general and administrative (“SG&A”) expense decreased $156 million, or 11%, compared to 2018, primarily due to lower variable compensation expense, as well as savings realized from our expense reduction actions. In addition, we had lower charges related to stock-based compensation expenses, amortization expense on acquired intangible assets, charges related to the implementation of cost-saving initiatives, acquisition-related charges and other charges, which aggregated to $317 million for 2019 compared to $340 million for 2018.
The decrease in employee termination, asset impairment and other charges reflects lower costs for closure of foreign manufacturing facilities and for our 2016 restructuring plan, which were initiated in prior years, partially offset by additional actions associated with the realignment of our business in fiscal year 2019. For additional information regarding employee termination, asset impairment and other charges, see Part II, Item 8, Note 15, Employee Termination, Asset Impairment and Other Charges, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Interest and Other Income (Expense)
Fiscal Year 2019 Interest and Other Income (Expense) Compared to Fiscal Year 2018 Interest and Other Income (Expense)
Total interest and other expense, net decreased $1.16 billion, or 76%, in 2019 primarily due to the loss on extinguishment of debt of $899 million in the prior year as well as lower interest expense resulting from reductions in the principal amount of debt and lower interest rates as a result of changes to our debt facilities in the third and fourth quarters of fiscal 2018, partially offset by increases in the LIBOR interest rate.
Income Tax Expense
The following table sets forth income tax information from our Consolidated Statements of Operations by dollar and effective tax rate:
(in millions, except percentages)
Income (loss) before taxes
Income tax expense (benefit)
Effective tax rate
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “2017 Act”), enacted on December 22, 2017, includes a broad range of tax reform proposals affecting businesses, including a reduction in the U.S. federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, a one-time mandatory deemed repatriation tax on earnings of certain foreign subsidiaries that were previously tax deferred and the creation of new taxes on certain foreign earnings.
When initially accounting for the tax effects of the enactment of the 2017 Act, we applied the applicable Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) guidance and made a reasonable estimate of the effects on our existing deferred tax balances and the one-time mandatory deemed repatriation tax required by the 2017 Act. As we finalized the accounting for the tax effects of the enactment of the 2017 Act during the one-year measurement period permitted by applicable SEC guidance, we reflected adjustments to the recorded provisional amounts. During the second quarter of fiscal 2019, we completed our accounting for the tax effects of the enactment of the 2017 Act. Although the U.S. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) have issued tax guidance on certain provisions of the 2017 Act since the enactment date, we anticipate the issuance of future additional regulatory and interpretive guidance, even though the one-year measurement period has ended. Although we were able to apply a reasonable interpretation of the law along with any available guidance in finalizing our accounting for the tax effects of the 2017 Act, such future additional regulatory or interpretive guidance would constitute new information which may require further refinements to our estimates in future periods.
The primary driver of the difference between the effective tax rate for the year ended June 28, 2019 and the U.S. Federal statutory rate of 21% is the discrete effect of the finalization of the accounting for the tax effects of the enactment of the 2017 Act. These discrete effects consist of $119 million related to the mandatory deemed repatriation tax and $189 million related to the decision to change our indefinite reinvestment assertion. The remaining difference is attributable primarily to a change in the estimated effective tax rate due to changes in the relative mix of earnings by jurisdiction, partially offset by credits and tax holidays.
The primary drivers for the difference between the effective tax rate for the year ended June 29, 2018 and the blended U.S. Federal statutory rate of 28% are provisional taxes recognized as a result of the 2017 Act and an increase to the valuation allowance for net operating loss carryforwards from restructuring activities, which are partially offset by the 2018 generation of tax credits and tax holidays in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand that expired or will expire at various dates during fiscal years 2018 through 2030. The windfall tax benefits are a result of the adoption of ASU 2016-09, which required us to recognize $78 million of net windfall tax benefits related to vesting and exercises of stock-based awards as a component of our income tax expense for fiscal year 2018.
Our future effective tax rate is subject to future regulatory developments and changes in the mix of our U.S. earnings compared to foreign earnings. Our total tax expense in future fiscal years may also vary as a result of discrete items such as excess tax benefits or deficiencies.
For additional information regarding income tax expense (benefit), see Part II, Item 8, Note 13, Income Tax Expense, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
A discussion of our results of operations for the year ended June 30, 2017 is included in Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Results of Operation”, included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2017.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
The following table summarizes our statements of cash flows:
Net cash provided by (used in):
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash
Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents
We believe our cash, cash equivalents and cash generated from operations as well as our available credit facilities will be sufficient to meet our working capital, debt, dividend and capital expenditure needs for at least the next twelve months. Our ability to sustain our working capital position is subject to a number of risks that we discuss in Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors, in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
During fiscal 2020, we expect cash used for purchases of property, plant and equipment and net activity in notes receivable and equity investments relating to our Flash Ventures joint venture with Toshiba Memory Corporation to be less than $500 million. The total expected cash to be used could vary depending on the timing and completion of various capital projects and the availability, timing and terms of related financing.
A total of $2.37 billion and $4.15 billion of our cash and cash equivalents was held outside of the U.S. as of June 28, 2019 and June 29, 2018, respectively. During the second quarter of fiscal 2019, we finalized the accounting for the tax effects of the mandatory deemed repatriation tax on our indefinite reinvestment assertion. After re-evaluating the existing short- and long-term capital allocation polices, we made the determination that it was our intention to repatriate all of our foreign undistributed earnings. Our decision during the second quarter of fiscal 2019 to change our indefinite reinvestment assertion was based on interpretative guidance issued by the IRS through that date related to the ordering and taxation of a repatriation of our foreign undistributed earnings. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, the IRS issued additional interpretative guidance affecting the taxation of a certain portion of our foreign undistributed earnings, which could result in additional federal taxes. After consideration of this additional interpretative guidance, we made the determination that we no longer intend to repatriate this portion of our foreign undistributed earnings and did not establish an accrual for this liability. For additional information regarding our indefinite reinvestment assertion, see Part II, Item 8, Note 13, Income Tax Expense, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Cash flow from operating activities primarily consists of net income, adjusted for non-cash charges, plus or minus changes in operating assets and liabilities. This represents our principal source of cash. Net cash used for changes in operating assets and liabilities was $260 million for 2019, as compared to net cash provided of $486 million for 2018. The net cash provided by changes in other operating assets and liabilities in 2018 primarily reflects the payable recorded for the mandatory deemed repatriation tax as described in Part II, Item 8, Note 13, Income Tax Expense, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Changes in our operating assets and liabilities are also largely affected by our working capital requirements, which are dependent on the effective management of our cash conversion cycle. Our cash conversion cycle measures how quickly we can convert our products into cash through sales. The cash conversion cycles were as follows:
Days sales outstanding
Days in inventory
Days payables outstanding
Cash conversion cycle
Changes in days sales outstanding (“DSOs”) are generally due to the linearity of shipments. Changes in days in inventory (“DIOs”) are generally related to the timing of inventory builds. Changes in days payables outstanding (“DPOs”) are generally related to production volume and the timing of purchases during the period. From time to time, we modify the timing of payments to our vendors. We make modifications primarily to manage our vendor relationships and to manage our cash flows, including our cash balances. Generally, we make the payment term modifications through negotiations with our vendors or by granting to, or receiving from, our vendors’ payment term accommodations.
For 2019, DSO decreased by 13 days over the prior year, primarily reflecting the timing of shipments and customer collections and the factoring of receivables. DIO increased by 10 days over the prior year, primarily reflecting increases in hard drive inventory in response to the plant closure in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and increases in flash inventory as a result of the recent market imbalance. DPO decreased by 17 days over the prior year, primarily reflecting reductions in flash production volumes as well as routine variations in timing of purchases and payments during the period.
During 2019, net cash used in investing activities primarily consisted of $876 million of capital expenditures and a net $598 million increase in notes receivable issuances to Flash Ventures to fund its capital expansion, partially offset by net proceeds of $103 million from the sale of investments and $119 million from the sale of property, plant and equipment. Net cash used in investing activities for 2018 primarily consisted of $835 million of capital expenditures, a $742 million net increase in notes receivable issuances to and investments in Flash Ventures and $100 million for acquisitions.
Our cash equivalents are primarily invested in money market funds that invest in U.S. Treasury securities and U.S. Government agency securities as well as bank certificates of deposit. In addition, from time to time, we invest directly in U.S. Treasury securities, U.S. and International Government agency securities, certificates of deposit, asset-backed securities and corporate and municipal notes and bonds.
During 2019, net cash used in financing activities primarily consisted of $681 million for the repayment of our revolving credit facility and debt, $584 million to pay dividends on our common stock and $563 million for share repurchases. Net cash used in financing activities for 2018 primarily consisted of $17.07 billion in debt repayments, $593 million to pay dividends on our common stock and $591 million for share repurchases, partially offset by net proceeds of $14.28 billion from debt issuances and draws under our revolving credit facility.
A discussion of our liquidity and capital resources for the year ended June 30, 2017 is included in Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources”, included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2017.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
Other than the commitments related to Flash Ventures, facility lease commitments incurred in the normal course of business and certain indemnification provisions (see “Short and Long-term Liquidity-Contractual Obligations and Commitments” below), we do not have any other material off-balance sheet financing arrangements or liabilities, guarantee contracts, retained or contingent interests in transferred assets, or any other obligation arising out of a material variable interest in an unconsolidated entity. We do not have any majority-owned subsidiaries that are not included in the Consolidated Financial Statements. Additionally, with the exception of Flash Ventures and our joint venture with Unisplendour Corporation Limited and Unissoft (Wuxi) Group Co. Ltd. (“Unis”), referred to as the “Unis Venture”, we do not have an interest in, or relationships with, any variable interest entities. For additional information regarding our off-balance sheet arrangements, see Part II, Item 8, Note 9, Commitments, Contingencies and Related Parties, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Short and Long-term Liquidity
Contractual Obligations and Commitments
The following is a summary of our known contractual cash obligations and commercial commitments as of June 28, 2019:
1 Year (2020)
2-3 Years (2021-2022)
4-5 Years (2023-2024)
More than 5 Years (Beyond 2024)
Long-term debt, including current portion(1)
Interest on debt
Flash Ventures related commitments(2)