SK Hynix swings back to first-quarter profit

South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix on Wednesday posted a net profit of 179 billion won ($159 million) for January-March, a sharp turnaround from a year ago thanks to better-than-expected sales.

The figures for the world's second-biggest memory chipmaker after Samsung Electronics are a massive improvement on the net loss of 271 billion won in the same period a year ago.

The firm reported its first profitable quarter in more than a year in July-September 2012.

It said operating profit stood at 317 billion won in the first quarter of this year, compared with a loss of 264 billion won last year.

Sales amounted to 2.78 trillion won, up from 2.38 trillion won said in a statement.

"DRAM bit shipment improved more than expected due to increased demand of the PC and server products for data centres," it said.

DRAM, which accounted for more than 70 percent of the firm's revenue, is a key component in computers and many other electronic gadgets.

Shipments of NAND flash chips for mobile devices fell on the back of slowing demand, the company said, but it predicted a recovery in the second quarter led by Chinese electronics makers.

"Demand for NAND flash will rise as more mobile device makers are set to introduce new products and Chinese firms in particular will roll out more mid- and low-end smartphones," it said.

SK Hynix, which became part of the SK Group last year, has seen its business boosted by the growth of its main clients in China such as electronics giants Huawei and Lenovo.