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Tech Industry

Vitesse delivers upside surprise in 4Q

    Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS) came through in its fourth quarter Monday, posting a better-than-expected profit of $21.6 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $80.6 million.

    First Call consensus pegged the chipmaker for a profit of 25 cents a share in the quarter.

    Despite the solid earnings, investors were a bit skittish Monday as the stock fell 5 3/8, or 7 percent, to 76 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $80.6 million in sales represents a 48 percent improvement compared to the year-ago quarter when it earned $15.8 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $54.6 million.

    For the fiscal year, Vitesse pocketed $70 million, or 84 cents a share, on sales of $281.5 million, up from the $50.5 million, or 63 cents a share in fiscal 1998.

    "I am pleased to report that we once again set records for revenues, operating profit and net income. Revenues increased by 48 percent over the fourth quarter of 1998, driven by continued strength across all of our communications product areas," said CEO Lou Tomasetta in a prepared release. "Fibre channel and gigabit ethernet products remained especially strong."

    Last quarter, Vitesse raked in $19.4 million, or 24 cents a share, on sales of $73 million.

    Vitesse shares moved up to a 52-week high of 97 1/2 in September after falling to a low of 27 last October.

    All 15 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.