National Semi Earnings Up

The chip maker says the outlook for next quarter is bright too.

National Semiconductor Corp. on Thursday delivered better-than-expected earnings for its third quarter as well as a bright outlook for the fourth quarter.

The chip maker earned $93.1 million, or 48 cents per share, on revenues of $513.6 million for the third quarter, which ended Feb. 29. This compares to a loss of $36.4 million, or 20 cents per share, on revenues of $404.3 million for the year-ago period.

In the quarter, National saw better-than-usual sales in the PC and wireless handset markets as well as increased demand for analog products, particularly in power management, said CEO Brian Halla, in a statement.

The chip maker last year sold its Information Appliance unit to Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and exited its cellular business. The move has allowed National Semi to concentrate on its core analog chip business in such areas as wireless handsets and flat-panel displays.

The Santa Clara, Calif., chip maker predicted today that fourth-quarter revenue would grow 7 percent to 10 percent sequentially.

Nationals optimistic outlook comes on the heels of chip giant Intel Corp.s announcement last week that it was narrowing its revenue expectation for the first quarter to between $8.0 billion and $8.2 billion, from $7.9 billion to $8.5 billion.

Also last week, research firm IDC predicted that PC semiconductor revenue would grow 18 percent to $53.6 billion in 2004. Mobile chips would fuel most of that growth, at 16.1 percent, with desktop chips bringing in the other 2.9 percent, according to a statement from IDC, in Framingham, Mass.