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Atmel delivers slight upside surprise in 3Q

Atmel topped analysts' estimates in its third quarter Thursday, earning $76.5 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $530.4 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expected the programmable logic device maker would earn 15 cents a share in the quarter.

Atmel (Nasdaq: ATML) shares closed up $2.23 to $14.42 ahead of the earnings report.

The $530.4 million in sales marks a 56 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $17.3 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $340.2 million.

"We achieved yet another quarter of exceptional financial performance with revenues and net income for the third quarter of 2000 reaching the highest in Atmel's history," said CEO George Perlegos in a prepared release. "Revenues exceeded our expectations and were driven by continued sales strength across all product categories, robust end customer demand, a firm pricing environment, and the continued successful ramp of our manufacturing capacity."

Fellow PLD makers Xilinx (Nasdaq: XLNX) and Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR) also beat analysts' estimates this quarter.

Last quarter, Atmel topped analysts' estimates when it returned a profit of $61.3 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $478.8 million.

The stock peaked at $30.69 in March after falling to a low of $7.50 last October.

All 12 analysts covering Atmel rate the stock either a "buy" or "strong buy."