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Dot Hill: Not Ill Anymore

Storage vendor finally gets into the black, beating Q2 expectations on strength of Sun OEM deal

Dot Hill Systems Corp. (AMEX: HIL) has finally managed to get into the black, reporting net income of $2.5 million, or 7 cents per share, on sales of $48.4 million for the second quarter of 2003. The results end the company's 11 straight quarters of losses (see Dot Hill Quadruples Q2 Sales and Dot Hill Sees Another Year of Red Ink).

Dot Hill's sales for the period were four times the $11.2 million of the year-ago quarter, and up 59 percent over the $30.5 million it reported for the first quarter of 2003. The turnaround at the midrange storage systems provider is attributable entirely to its OEM deal with Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), which accounted for 85 percent of its quarterly sales (see Dot Hill Becomes Sun Worshipper and Dot Hill Stares at Sun).

James Lambert, Dot Hill's president and CEO, acknowledged that storage sales through Sun were up in the quarter partly because it was the fourth quarter of Sun's fiscal year.

"In the fourth quarter, everything ships out the door," he said on a conference call with investors yesterday. Sun, which reported its quarterly results on July 22, said storage sales were up 15 percent sequentially (but down 16 percent year-over-year).

For the current quarter, Lambert noted that, while Sun's sales are typically "flat or down" in its fiscal first quarter compared with its fourth, "anecdotal evidence is that their storage business is doing very well." He added that Dot Hill is in negotiations with several systems integrators and OEMs to diversify its revenue stream beyond Sun.

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