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SanDisk slides to loss

SanDisk Corp. said Monday that hefty charges to write down the value of assets and inventory amid industrywide price reductions forced the world’s largest supplier of flash memory cards to post a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss.The company also warned it expects 2009 to be another “very challenging” year, in which it may seek to raise cash through a dilutive stock sale.

Shares closed down 15 cents at $11.28, but tumbled $1.83, or 16.2 percent, to $9.45 in aftermarket electronic trading following the quarterly report. The global economic recession has caused many companies and consumers to pull back sharply on technology spending, hurting data storage companies across the industry.

Quarterly losses totaled $1.86 billion, or $8.25 per share, compared with year-ago profit of $105.8 million, or 45 cents per share. The latest period was hurt by $1.91 billion worth of charges for asset write-downs as a result of the sustained drop in SanDisk’s market capitalization, inventory-related charges and idle capacity costs, and other items.

Adjusted losses totaled $1.65 per share, compared with year-ago profit excluding items of 69 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected a much smaller loss of 60 cents per share, excluding items.

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