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By | Paul Kunert 16th November 2011 11:19

Drama as Thai frogmen struggle to save world PC market

Elite navy divers sent in to salvage flood-hit disk fabs

The Thai government has dispatched a crack squad of navy divers in a bid to glean WD factory equipment currently lost below metres of flood water.

It is now more than a month since the flooding devastated parts of the country with 562 people confirmed dead, four million households affected and 14,000 factories inundated – including WD's two fabs, which produce 60 per cent of its drives worldwide.

"The Thai navy is helping to get as much equipment out as possible, swimming into the buildings to unbolt submersed machinery," a senior spokesman at WD told El Reg.

The kit may be moved to other areas less impacted by the natural disaster or even to other countries, but WD was unable to say whether the water-logged production kit can be used again or if it will set up another plant.

In WD's first quarter ended 30 September, it produced 58 million drives, but the spokesman confirmed it expects to ship between just 22 million and 26 million. It is ramping up production in Malaysia, Brazil and the USA to fill part of the void.

This will be a "multi-quarter challenge" he said, and said the best guess for resolving the problem was three to six months.

Analysts are forecasting 48 million fewer drives will be shipped in Q4 and as a result, prices are rising and PC vendors are braced for shortages. ®

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