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TI posts improved profits

Texas Instruments posts dramatically improved third-quarter profits, driven by higher operating margins for semiconductor chips.

Texas Instruments (TXN) today posted dramatically improved third-quarter profits, driven by higher operating margins for semiconductor chips.

The company recorded a net IT at a glance income of $239 million, or 1.20 a share, vs. $13 million, or 6 cents a share, for the same quarter last year. Analysts expected the chip maker to report earnings of 1.14 a share, compared with 7 cents a year ago, according to First Call.

Revenue for the quarter grew 4 percent, to $2.5 billion, compared with $2.4 billion last year.

The company said outlook remains positive for continued moderate recovery of the world semiconductor market, although the near-term rate of growth is being restrained by DRAM pricing pressures and weakness in the Japanese economy.

TI believes the semiconductor market in 1998 will grow at or above the long-term growth trend of the industry. The company sees particular strength in wireless communications and networking, applications important to digital signal processing and mixed-signal/analog products.

For the quarter, semiconductor orders were up 27 percent, with particular strength in wireless communications and networking, while revenues increased 22 percent. Profit from operations was up more than fourfold, primarily due to strength in digital signal processing and mixed-signal/analog products, said the company.

Texas Instruments, which saw its revenues fall during 1996, then continue a year-over-year drop during the first half of this year, has managed to post a profit during the last two consecutive quarters.

An Argus Research report noted that Texas Instruments? digital processor chips are expected to experience strong growth for the next couple of years, thanks to their use in telecommunications products.

Argus analysts also pointed out that, while the chip industry is experiencing some pricing pressure on the DRAM business, it has not yet affected TI?s stock value.

Shares of Texas Instruments have soared since late June, when the company was trading around 90 a share. It lost about 4 percent in early trading, from yesterday's close of 141.