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Read-Rite Corp made a fourth quarter loss as expected, but the beleaguered disk-drive manufacturer surprised the markets with a $29.5 million loss, smaller than anticipated. Analysts had forecast the loss at around 68 cents per a share, but the Milpitas, California manufacturer’s loss worked out at 61 cents a share, although revenues plummeted by 45% to $175.9 million from $318.2 million last time. For the year, Read-Rite saw last year’s $76.2 million profit fall to a $319.7 million loss, and revenues dropped 30% to $808.6 million, down from $1.16 billion. Read-Rite has rationalised and restructured throughout the year, and the company said conditions remain extremely challenging and that all manufacturers are suffering from a huge over-supply and deep price erosion. During the last quarter, Read-Rite has ramped up and shipped in volume MR heads to Maxtor, Samsung, Seagate and Western Digital for their 3.2Gb to 3.4Gb disk drive desktop programmes. ®

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