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SanDisk reported a huge swing in fourth quarter income today, but issued a "cautious" outlook for the upcoming quarter due to competitive pricing and an unstable economy.

The memory chip maker's net income for Q4 was $105.8m, compared with a loss of $35m from the same period last year. Operating income was $173m, compared to $12m in Q4 '06.

Revenue rose 7.1 per cent year-over-year in the quarter to $1.25bn from $1.16bn. Product revenue was $1.12bn and licensing and royalty revenue made the remaining $128m.

Total revenue for fiscal 2007 was $3.896bn, a 20 per cent increase from $3.258bn in 2006. Net income for fiscal 2007 was $218m, compared to net income of $199m the previous year.

The company's profit had taken a beating in fiscal 2006 with charges related to the $1.6bn acquisition of M-Systems, an Israeli flash-memory rival.

"This was a good quarter for SanDisk considering the challenging business conditions in our market," said CEO Eli Harari in a statement.

While flash-memory devices are popular as ever, a glut in the market is keeping down pricing. The company said while total megabytes sold increased 146 per cent in Q4 year-over-year, the average price per MB also declined 58 per cent.

“Despite current uncertainties in the worldwide economy and a challenging industry pricing environment in the first quarter, we expect to grow our top and bottom line in 2008, driven by continuing strength in our mobile markets, our expanding international retail footprint and our competitive cost structure.”

SanDisk expects first quarter revenue in 2008 between $775m and $875m. Analysts had been hoping for a figure in the low billions. As of this publication, SanDisk's share price fell 5.83 per cent in after hours trading ®

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