CSR shares jump on upbeat outlook

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Shares in CSR jumped on Thursday as the UK-based maker of Bluetooth wireless chips offered an upbeat outlook for 2007.

John Scarisbrick, chief executive, said the growing use of Bluetooth chips in mobile phones, as well as in computers, games consoles, cars and music devices, would allow the company to meet expectations for 2007.

“We are on track for 2007. This is not suddenly starting to boom, but we are on track and we are comfortable with expectations,” he said.

The note of confidence was in sharp contrast to last year, when the Cambridge-based company was twice forced to cut back revenue forecasts as sales of high-end mobile phones and headsets with Bluetooth chips disappointed.

As expected, CSR unveiled a 14 per cent fall in fourth quarter pre-tax profits, to $33.3m (£17m) from $38.6m the previous year. Revenues rose 6 per cent to $173.3m, just ahead of consensus estimates.

However, Mr Scarisbrick said the company expected revenues of between $145m and $160m for the first quarter. Analysts said the forecast was in line with normal seasonal patterns, and dispelled fears that an inventory glut would continue to depress sales in 2007.

CSR said it expected the percentage of mobile phones containing Bluetooth chips to rise from 35 per cent last year to 40-50 per cent in 2007. Last year, CSR sales disappointed because handset sales focused on lower-end models that did not contain the technology. However, Bluetooth is increasingly being designed into cheaper phones.

Mr Scarisbrick also said the company was diversifying away from mobile handsets, with the inclusion of its technology in Sony’s PlayStation 3 console, and a Samsung MP3 player – the first time it has been used in a music device.

CSR chips are also widely believed to be included in Apple’s iPhone handset, which is due to be launched later this year.

For the full year, pre-tax profits rose 35 per cent to $154.4m, on revenues of $704.7m, up 45 per cent from the previous year. Earnings per share were $0.82, up from $0.62 previously.

Shares in the company, which have risen 25 per cent in the last three months, were up more than 10 per cent at 825p in late morning trading.

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