Applied Materials beats earnings as chip industry orders brighten

Applied Materials is the bellwether of bellwethers for the electronics industry, as it is the world’s largest maker of chip manufacturing equipment. So it’s good to know that the company beat earnings expectations today for its first fiscal quarter ended Jan. 29.

Applied said its non-GAAP net income was $240 million, or 18 cents a share. Analysts were expecting net income of 12 cents a share. Sales were $2.19 billion, compared to analyst estimates of $1.97 billion. After hours, Applied stock is up 5.75 percent to $13.97 a share.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Applied Materials chief executive Mike Splinter said that Applied’s results were driven by strong capital investments by chip makers, who in turn are being bouyed by global demand for mobile devices.

He said the company sees solid order momentum and an improved outlook for the company’s fiscal second quarter that ends at the end of April. For the second quarter, Applied expects sales to be up 5 to 15 percent from the first quarter. Non-GAAP net income will likely be 20 cents to 28 cents per share.

On a GAAP basis, the company reported sales of $2.19 billion, down from $2.69 billion a year ago. Net income was $117 million, or 9 cents a share, on a GAAP basis, compared to $506 million, or 38 cents a share a year ago.

Non-GAAP net income was $240 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with $484 million, or 36 cents a share a year ago. During the quarter, Applied acquired Varian Associates, which generated $270 million in orders and sales of $200 million. It contributed 1 cent a share to non-GAAP earnings per share. Applied’s business of making equipment to build liquid crystal displays was weak at $104 million, down 39 percent from a year ago. Solar manufacturing equipment orders were $33 million, down 62 percent, thanks to over-capacity in the industry.

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