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Lattice warns of shortfall in earnings, sales

The chipmaker says it will miss expectations for the March quarter because of a drop in demand for its customers' end products.

Lattice Semiconductor warned investors Friday that it would miss expectations for the March quarter, saying demand for its customers' end products has dropped off.

Lattice makes programmable logic devices used in communications, electronic data processing, and industrial and consumer markets. A broader slowdown in the communications industry, a major consumer of those devices, has affected some of Lattice's competitors, including Altera and Xilinx.

Altera issued a warning earlier this week, and analysts have said they expect one from Xilinx.

Lattice shares were up 88 cents to $20.44 in midday trading Friday.

The company said first-quarter revenue would drop about 20 percent from the $150.8 million posted in the fourth quarter. That's significantly short of the $140.8 million expected by analysts, according to First Call.

Earnings before goodwill for the March quarter are expected to be about 25 percent lower than the fourth quarter, when it posted a profit of $40.4 million, or 34 cents a share. That would put per share earnings at 26 cents a share, compared with the 30 cents per share expected by First Call.

Lattice expects 2001 earnings before goodwill to drop 15 percent to 20 percent from 2000 to about $113 million to $120 million, or $1 to $1.05 per share. Wall Street had predicted a $1.27 per share profit.

"For the past several months overall semiconductor market conditions have been quite turbulent," CEO Cyrus Y. Tsui said in a release. "Within the PLD (programmable logic device) sector, what began as an inventory correction, now appears to be exacerbated by a general slowdown in demand for our customers' end products. Should macroeconomic conditions improve, we are hopeful of a return to sequential revenue growth in the second half of 2001."