Linear Technology expects rebound after weak quarter

By Eve Fan

Shares of chip maker Linear Technology Corp. surged more than 6 percent Wednesday despite reporting a 13 percent drop in profit for its first fiscal quarter, after the company forecasted rising revenue in its second quarter.

Net income dropped to $112.0 million in the first quarter ended Sept. 27, or 46 cents per share, from $129.5 million, or 53 cents per share, a year ago. The results matched the analysts’ consensus earnings estimate, according to Bloomberg LP.

Revenue at the California-based company fell 9.9 percent to $341.9 million in the quarter, which the company blamed on a faltering global economy.

“We expected a difficult September quarter due to lower bookings as our customers reacted to sluggish global macroeconomic conditions,” CEO Lothar Maier said in a statement.

But the company said it expects revenue for the current quarter that ends Dec. 15 to be flat or rise 3 percent. Such an increase would imply revenue of $352.2 million, far above the $339.8 million analysts were forecasting, according to Yahoo Finance.

Chief Financial Officer Don Zerio said during the company’s conference call Wednesday that Linear has positioned itself to take advantage when the global economy regains power by curbing production, controlling costs and lowering inventory.

Tore Svanberg, managing director at Stifel Financial Corporation, wrote in a research note that Linear’s customers are staying in a “wait-and-see mode,” but that 2016 could be a better year for the company as the economy improves.

“We continue to believe that Linear’s focused markets—automotive, industrial, and communications—are the right markets for growth,” Svanberg said.

Revenues fell across all major regions, including North America, Europe, Japan and the Asia-Pacific, Zerio said. The industrial market topped revenue declines, followed by communications and transportation.

Maier said a promising growth area for the company is in electronic systems for electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid autos, particularly as the Chinese government has provided financial incentives for electric and hybrid cars.

“I think we have done well in the automotive market in China,” Maier said. “And layered on top of that is this surge of opportunities that become available to us as the cars become electric and hybrid and they have got the full weight of the Chinese government behind it.”

Photo on top: Linear Technology sees electric cars as an opportunity to stay fresh in automotive market in China. (atimedia/Pixabay)