* Q2 gross margin 31.6 pct vs 19.5 pct yr ago
* Q2 adj shr $1.28 vs $1.08 expected by Wall Street
* Q2 rev up 17.5 pct at $3.2 bln
* Shares up 6 pct in extended trade
(Adds outlook, comments from CFO)
By Abhiram Nandakumar and Himank Sharma
Jan 31 (Reuters) - Hard drive maker Seagate Technology (STX.O) expects unit shipments to jump by nearly a third this quarter, even though worldwide inventories remain squeezed as its suppliers' factories recover from last year's floods in Thailand.
The floods in Thailand, which is the world's No. 2 exporter of hard drives, disrupted production and pushed hard drive inventories to historic lows worldwide.
"Third quarter, we will build 60 million (units) ... ship 60 million ... because we've depleted (inventory) to historically low levels in the December quarter," Seagate Chief Financial Officer Pat O'Malley said on the phone to Reuters.
O'Malley also said there would be a severe-to-acute shortage of cloud type drives in 2012 owing to high demand and the severity of the floods' impact on that supply chain.
Seagate posted higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings, on strong margins, which O'Malley said would continue through the rest of year.
O'Malley said margins would remain in the 33 percent range through the March-June quarter and pricing would remain a bit benign for the remainder of the year.
Tighter shipments have forced computer manufacturers to scramble to secure supply and boosted hard drive prices 20 percent to 40 percent in recent months.
2nd QUARTER RESULTS BEAT
Seagate shipped 47 million hard drives in its fiscal second quarter and posted revenue of $3.2 billion, up 17.5 percent from the year ago. Gross margins came in at 31.6 percent, compared with 19.5 percent in the year-earlier quarter.
The Ireland-based company said net income rose to $563 million, or $1.28 a share in the second quarter which ended Dec. 30, from $150 million, or 31 cents a year ago.
Excluding items, Seagate earned $1.32 a share, topping the $1.08 a share estimated by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
On Jan. 23, Western Digital Corp WDC.N reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results and forecast a strong current quarter. [ID:nL4E8CN80E]
Shares of Seagate were up 6 percent in trading after the bell. They closed at $21.14 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday. Western Digital shares closed at $36.35 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Himank Sharma and Abhiram Nandakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Steve Orlofsky and Carol Bishopric)
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