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Thu, May 20, 2004 - Page 12 News List

Applied Materials sales, profits surge

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Applied Materials Inc, the world's biggest maker of semiconductor-production equipment, had fiscal second-quarter net income of US$373.3 million as chipmakers bought new gear at the fastest pace in almost four years.

Net income was US$0.22 a share, compared with a loss of US$62.1 million, or US$0.04, a year earlier. Sales in the quarter ended May 2 rose to US$2.02 billion, the Santa Clara, California-based company said in a statement.

Applied's quarterly sales gain of 82 percent was its biggest since 2000. That put it on course for what analysts predict will be its first annual increase in four years. Orders rose 32 percent from the first quarter to beat the company's forecast.

Applied's customers include Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the world's largest maker of made-to-order chips, and Samsung Electronics Co, the world's second-largest maker of semiconductors.

China and Southeast Asia accounted for 22 percent of new orders in the second quarter. Taiwan produced 21 percent, North America 19 percent, Japan 17 percent, South Korea 13 percent and Europe 8 percent. Chief executive officer Mike Splinter forecast that Applied will ship US$1 billion of equipment to China this year.

The company forecast third-quarter profit of US$0.23 to US$0.25 a share, with sales up 5 percent from the second quarter to almost US$2.12 billion, chief financial officer Joseph Bronson said on a conference call. The company had a net loss of US$36.8 million, or US0.02 a share, on sales of US$1.09 billion a year earlier.

Bronson forecast orders to rise 5 percent to 10 percent to as much as US$2.43 billion from the second quarter's US$2.21 billion.

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