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US chip group bearish on 3G take-up
|29 января 2009|
Take-up of 3G mobile phones will be held back more than expected this year by the downturn, according to Qualcomm, the US chip company whose technology is central to 3G.
With handset makers slashing purchases of chips in the short term and expected to carry lower inventory levels for the rest of the year, Qualcomm warned on Wednesday that as a result, its own revenues in 2009 would drop 12-16 per cent while operating profits would fall 24-30 per cent.
The comments, which wiped 5 per cent from the company’s shares in after-market trading, came in spite of signs from its latest quarterly earnings that it had weathered the early part of the downturn better than expected.
However, the figures were also dented by $388m of losses from investments as a result of the financial crisis, pushing the company’s net income down 56 per cent from the year before.
Qualcomm, which either makes or licenses the technology for all the chips in 3G handsets, has become a bellwether for the health of the growing high-speed mobile market, pushing its stock market value above that of Nokia.
on Wednesday, it said that sales of 3G handsets this year were likely to grow by about 20 per cent to 565m as older 2G phones were replaced.
That was below the 600m it had forecast earlier.
Wall Street had been expecting Qualcomm to issue a downbeat outlook, particularly for the early months of this year as a result of the sharp inventory correction but its caution about conditions later in the year came as a surprise.
The outlook reflected a belief that handset makers would continue to keep unusually low inventory levels on hand and fewer phone users would opt to replace their existing handsets, executives said.
They blamed the weaker outlook on lower average selling prices, as China came to account for a bigger share of the overall business.
For the latest quarter, Qualcomm said revenues had risen 3 per cent to $2.52bn. Pro forma operating income climbed 4 per cent to $986m as the company reduced operating costs more than expected.
After the $388m loss on investments, net income fell to $341m, or 20 cents a share, compared with Wall Street expectations of 47 cents a share.
Qualcomm is still carrying $1.1bn of unrealised losses in its investment portfolio, although Paul Jacob, chief executive, said it planned to continue to hold those securities and believed it would not need to recognise the losses.
Источник: Financial Times