Share story

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — SK Hynix said Thursday its fourth quarter net profit doubled from a year earlier to a record high and forecast that robust demand for chips would continue this year.

South Korea’s second-largest chipmaker said its October-December earnings jumped to 3.2 trillion won ($3 billion) from 1.6 trillion won a year earlier.

Its quarterly sales and operating profit were also at the highest levels in the company’s history. Quarterly sales surged 69 percent to 9 trillion won ($8.5 billion) while operating profit more than doubled to 4.5 trillion won ($4.2 billion).

Makers of semiconductors like SK Hynix have benefited from explosive demand for memory capacity in data centers and servers, while supplies remained tight.

SK Hynix gave an upbeat outlook, dispelling skepticism that the prices of memory chips may turn lower this year due to a supply increase.

The company said demand for server DRAM chips will remain strong this year, with new demand from consumers in emerging markets who want to upgrade their smartphones. Demand for flash memory chips that store data and files will also increase as consumers seek more storage space on their smartphones.

Supplies of DRAM chips will be limited this year, it said, as rivals struggle to migrate to a more advanced production technology. But tight supplies of flash memory chips will likely ease gradually going forward.

SK Hynix and its bigger rival Samsung Electronics supply about three quarters of the world’s DRAM chips that help run multiple programs faster in computers and servers.

The company rounded out 2017 with historic records as its annual net profit more than tripled to 10.6 trillion won ($10 billion).