Chip gear sales propel Applied above expectations

TechOnline India - August 11, 2009

Applied Materials exceeded analyst expectations for sales and earnings for the quarter ended July 26, as a sequential increase in semiconductor equipment revenue offset declines in sales of gear used in the production of solar panels and displays.

SAN FRANCISCO—Applied Materials Inc. exceeded analyst expectations for sales and earnings for the quarter ended July 26, as a sequential increase in semiconductor equipment revenue offset declines in sales of gear used in the production of solar panels and displays.

Revenue for the company's fiscal third quarter was $1.13 billion, up 10 percent from the previous quarter but down 38 percent compared to the year-ago quarter, Applied (Santa Clara, Calif.) said. Consensus analyst expectations for the quarter called for revenue of $958.4 million, according to Yahoo Finance.

Applied's fiscal third quarter net loss in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) was $55 million, or 4 cents per share, the company said. The company narrowed its GAAP net loss for the quarter compared to $255 million, or 19 cents per share, in the previous quarter. In the year-ago quarter, Applied posted a GAAP net income of $165 million, or 12 cents per share.

On a non-GAAP basis, excluding charges, Applied posted a net loss of $2 million, or break even per share, compared to a non-GAAP net loss of $136 million (10 cents per share) in the previous quarter and a non-GAAP net income of $228 million, or 17 cents per share, in the previous quarter, the company said.

Consensus analyst expectations for the fiscal third quarter had called for Applied to report a non-GAAP net loss of 8 cents per share, according to Yahoo Finance.

"For the first time in a long while, we see positive trends in our business," said Mike Splinter, Applied chairman and CEO, in a conference call following the earnings report.

But, Splinter also sounded a note of caution. "While encouraged, we are clearly building off a small base, and it's too soon to conclude a broad based recovery is at hand," he said.

Analyst C.J. Muse of Barclays Capital said in a report earlier this week that, despite a rebound in business, Applied could announce a restructuring, including job and product-line cuts.

Applied said new orders for the fiscal third quarter totaled $1.07 billion. Twenty-five percent of new orders came from Southeast Asia and China, Applied said, and 24 percent came from Taiwan.

Within Applied's Silicon Systems Group, 42 percent of new orders came from foundries, followed by 25 percent from DRAM vendors, 18 percent from logic/other and 15 percent from flash memory vendors, Applied said.

Net sales for the Silicon Systems Group grew to $498 million in the fiscal third quarter from $260 million in the previous quarter, Applied said.

Backlog for the company as of the end of the quarter was $2.95 billion, down from $3.16 billion in the previous quarter, Applied said.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, Applied said it expects revenue to increase 10 to 20 percent sequentially. The company said it expects to return to profitability on a non-GAAP basis in the fiscal fourth quarter, projecting non-GAAP earnings per share to be between 0 and 4 cents.

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