Chip companies give strong data

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Semiconductor companies continued to report strong quarters on Thursday despite disappointing results this week from industry bellwether Intel.

Freescale, the spin-off of Motorola’s chip arm, reported net profits of $192m or 45 cents a share, compared with $164m or 38 cents in the third quarter, and $5m or 1 cent a year ago. Analysts had expected sales of $162.8m or 37 cents a share.

Sales increased quarter-on-quarter in its Wireless and Mobile Solutions and Transportation and Standard Products divisions to contribute to net sales of $1.48bn, up from $1.45bn in the third quarter and $1.43bn a year ago.

Freescale, which specialises in chips for mobile phones and the automotive industry, forecast revenues of $1.435bn to $1.535bn in the current quarter. Its shares rose more than 1 per cent in after-hours trading.

Xilinx reported broad-based demand for its programmable chips and said profits rose more than a quarter, from 18 cents or $64.1m a year ago to 23 cents or $80m in the last quarter. Sales rose 27 per cent, from $355.4m to $449.6m.

Xilinx had raised guidance twice in the past two months but the results fell short of Wall Street expectations, causing a 6 per cent fall in its share price in after-hours trading. Earlier, shares in Fairchild Semiconductor rose 10 per cent on the day after it reported strong revenue growth and improved profit margins. Sales were 7 per cent higher than the third quarter at $370.8m.

“We had a strong finish to 2005, a year of major transition for Fairchild, by delivering solid fourth-quarter sales and gross margin growth,” said Mark Thompson, chief executive.

Rambus, whose patented technology is used by many memory-chip makers, reported earnings of 9 cents a share, compared with 6 cents in the third quarter and 14 cents a year ago.

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