Western Digital, one of the leading hard drive companies, has been forced to suspend operations in Thailand due to flooding. This will cost WD an expected 80 billion baht ($2.6 billion), and will undoubtedly affect the availability – and price – of both retail and OEM products.

The company’s other facilities in Malaysia, Singapore and the U.S. remain unaffected, but in a statement WD said the flooding of its Thailand facilities, combined with flood damage to the company’s supply chain in Thailand, will have significant impact on the company’s overall operations and its ability to meet customer demand for its products in the December quarter. WD’s Thailand operations account for 60 percent of the company’s global output, and WD has almost a third of the entire international market for hard drives.

All 40,000 WD employees in Thailand are safe, the company said, even though rising water penetrated the Bang Pa-in Industrial Park flood defenses and inundated its manufacturing facilities there, submerging some equipment, and its Navanakorn Industrial Park facilities are threatened following a Monday breach in flood defenses.

Industry Minister Wannarat Channukul is working with the company to mitigate the problems, but WD said it could take between five and eight months to get its plants back into operation.

Toshiba’s hard disc plant in Thailand has also been closed due to flooding, as have three plants operated by Nidec, which makes more than 70 percent of all hard drive motors.

Related links:

Western Digital statement –

Scientific American –

InfoWorld –

Photo of WD Caviar Black Hard Drive, courtesy of Western Digital