Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Intel meets Q1 expections amid slump in PC sales


Intel Corp, the world’s largest maker of chips for PCs, is remaining steadfast amid a drastic slowdown in computer sales.

Intel on Tuesday said it is keeping its sales and margin forecasts for this year, even as first-quarter PC sales plunged 14 percent from a year ago, as measured by research firm IDC.

The company is scrambling to get a foothold in smartphones and tablets, but has had little traction so far.

“We now compete wherever there is computing,” departing CEO Paul Otellini said on a conference call on Tuesday.

The Californian chipmaker met analyst forecasts for the just-ended quarter. It earned US$2 billion, or US$0.40 per share, in the January to March period. That was down 27 percent from US$2.74 billion, or US$0.53 per share, a year ago.

Revenue was US$12.6 billion, slightly below the midpoint of Intel’s own forecast range. The figure was down 2.3 percent from US$12.9 billion a year ago.

Intel said it shipped 7 percent fewer PC chips compared with a year ago, but 6 percent more server chips. It said it still expects to increase its sales by a few percent this year, and to keep its gross margin at 60 percent, down slightly from its recent three-year average of 63 percent. Analysts polled by FactSet expect revenue to be flat, on average.

For the quarter that just started, Intel expects revenue of US$12.9 billion, plus or minus US$500 million. It is launching this year’s crop of new chips in the quarter, codenamed “Haswell,” and is counting on them to compensate for slow sales at the start of the year.

Intel is pulling back its forecast in one area: It is expecting capital spending of US$12 billion this year, US$1 billion less than it previously expected, but still US$1 billion more than last year’s spending.

Separately, ASML Holding NV, the largest equipment supplier to semiconductor makers such as Intel and Samsung, reported a 51 percent fall in first quarter earnings — in line with its own forecasts — and said chief financial operator Peter Wennink would replace CEO Eric Meurice in July.

Meurice will remain as chairman through March next year.

Net profit was 156 million euros (US$206 million), down from 317 euros million in the same period a year ago. Sales fell 29 percent to 892 million euros.

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