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Intel results boost technology sector

15 января 2010

Intel gave a boost to the technology sector on Thursday, predicting a better year after fourth-quarter growth in sales of its chips was almost double the norm.

The chipmaker beat analysts’ expectations with profits of $2.3bn, 875 per cent higher than a year ago, when Intel made $234m in the teeth of the recession and a failing order book.

Intel’s microprocessors are used in four out of every five computers sold and its strong “holiday” quarter augurs well for PC makers, software companies and otherchipmakers at the start of the US tech earnings season.

“The fourth quarter was a strong ending to a year with a difficult beginning,” said Stacy Smith, chief financial officer.

“We have seen a return of consumer demand and replenishment to normal inventory levels after the precipitous demand drop at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.”

Sales worth $10.6bn were up 13 per cent on the third quarter, nearly twice the average seasonal growth and ahead of the analysts’ consensus of $10.2bn by Thomson Reuters.

Paul Otellini, chief executive, said the results had been made possible by “unprecedented operating efficiencies”.

Intel, which has led other chipmakers in moving to new degrees of miniaturisation, introduced chips with circuit widths narrowing from 45 to 32 billionths of a metre at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week.

“The demand picture in the quarter reflected broad-based strength across all regions and all product categories, with notebooks leading the way,” he told analysts.

Intel beat analysts’ expectations for the current quarter with its forecasts. It predicted revenues of about $9.7bn compared with a consensus of $9.34bn by Bloomberg. For 2010, it forecast that gross margins would rise to about 61 per cent, five percentagepointsupon 2009.

Last year was marked by a $1.45bn fine levied by the European Commission and a $1.25bn settlement with rival Advanced Micro Devices .

Источник: Financial Times

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