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California and the West

Applied Materials Profit Rises 39%

Robust demand for nano-manufacturing equipment spurs an increase in revenue.

August 16, 2006|From Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO — Applied Materials Inc., the biggest supplier of equipment used to make microchips, posted a 39% rise in quarterly profit Tuesday as it saw broad-based demand and improved its profit margins.

The better-than-expected results sent shares of Applied Materials up to $15.83 in extended trading after closing at $15.69 in regular trading.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Applied Materials said net profit in its third fiscal quarter was $512 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with $369.6 million, or 23 cents, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 56% from a year earlier to $2.54 billion.

Excluding special items, profit was $539.3 million, or 35 cents a share, compared with $237.8 million, or 14 cents, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected the company to earn 30 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $2.44 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

"Broad-based demand for Applied Materials' nano-manufacturing technology solutions and improved market position in key product areas increased revenues," Chief Executive Mike Splinter said in a statement.

New orders in the quarter amounted to $2.67 billion, up 82% from a year earlier, and the backlog at the end of the quarter was $3.32 billion, up 13% from the previous quarter.

Business at Applied Materials and rivals such as Japan's Tokyo Electron Ltd. and KLA-Tencor Corp. has boomed as chip makers have stepped up spending to meet demand for semiconductors used in mobile phones and consumer electronics.

But concern that chip demand is peaking has hit share prices in the sector. Applied Materials' stock has fallen more than 10% over the last three months, below the 12% slide in the Philadelphia Stock Exchange's semiconductor index over the same period.

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