ATMI issues profit warning

The provider of materials and services for chipmaking says it now expects its second-quarter revenue to drop 20 percent from the same quarter last year.

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ATMI anticipates lower-than-expected results in the second quarter.

After the market close Tuesday, the provider of materials and services for chipmaking said it now expects to earn 1 cent to 5 cents per share in its fiscal second quarter, which ends June 30. First Call's survey of five analysts predicted a profit of 12 cents per share for ATMI's second quarter.

Company executives compared the current downturn with slowdowns for the chip industry in 1984 and 1998.

"The macroeconomic environment, which is characterized by lower demand and high inventory levels among our core customers, makes projecting the next few quarters problematic," said Gene Banucci, chairman and CEO.

Second-quarter revenue will fall about 20 percent from $71.1 million in the comparable period a year earlier, Banucci said. ATMI expects full-year revenue to drop 10 percent to 15 percent. Analysts polled by First Call were predicting a 7 percent decline in annual sales.

ATMI's warning isn't a complete surprise, given continued slowness reported recently by other suppliers to the chip-manufacturing industry. But Wall Street recently has driven up shares of semiconductor-related companies, despite those companies' caution about the rest of this year.

"Investors appear to be focused on the next up-cycle, rather than near-term fundamentals," said Adams, Harkness & Hill analyst Frederick L. Wolf, who last week began coverage of ATMI with a "buy" rating. "We believe that ATMI's product and (intellectual property) portfolio, combined with the industry's need to incorporate new specialty materials to continue to improve device performance, positions ATMI very well for the next up-cycle."

Shares of ATMI traded at $27 in after-hours activity on the Island ECN, following the company's warning. ATMI rose $1.81 to $29.96 in Tuesday's regular trading ahead of the news.