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Altera Profit Falls, Misses Estimate


Programmable chipmaker Altera Corp. (ALTR) said Thursday after the markets closed that its first quarter profit fell 48% from last year, as sales declined in all its geographies and vertical markets.

The company's quarterly earnings per share also came in below analysts' expectations as did its quarterly sales.

"Demand in the last month of the quarter was generally lighter than forecasted, particularly from customers in the communications vertical market. In addition, we experienced some mix issues as we attempted to fulfill orders that arrived in the last month of the quarter. These factors were the major contributors to quarterly revenue that was well below our previous outlook,' said John Daane, Altera president, chief executive officer, and chairman.

However, the San Jose, California-based company said it expects second quarter net sales to be up 14% to 18% sequentially, implying net sales of $437.48 million to $452.83 million. Analysts currently expect the company to post revenue of $451.30 million for the second quarter.

"As we enter the second quarter, our backlog position has significantly improved reflecting stronger demand for our products. We expect a rebound in our business in the second quarter," said John Daane.

Gross margin for the second quarter is expected to be 70%, plus or minus 0.5%.

Altera shares are down 0.26% in after hours trading after closing the day's regular trading session at $38.50, up a penny. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $30.39 to $49.59.

For the first quarter, the company's sales in Americas dropped 39% year-over-year, while sales in Asia Pacific declined 2%, Europe Middle East and Africa sales slipped 36% and Japan sales fell 22%.

Based on vertical markets, Telecom & Wireless saw a 30% sales drop, Industrial Automation, Military & Automotive 33%, and Networking, Computer & Storage 18%.

For the first quarter ended March 30, 2012, the company reported net income of $115.8 million $0.35 per share, compared to $224.1 million $0.68 per share for the year-ago quarter.

On average, 30 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $0.36 per share for the first quarter.

Gross margin for the quarter declined to 70.1% from 72.6% a year earlier, while operating margin slipped to 30.4% from 45.8% last year.

Net sales for the first quarter fell 28% to $383.75 million from $535.81 million in the same quarter last year. First quarter net sales declined 16% sequentially. Twenty-seven analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $422.70 million for the fourth quarter.

Last month, Altera tightened its first quarter revenue outlook, saying it expected first quarter revenue to be down 7% to 9% sequentially, compared to its earlier forecast of a 5% to 9% sequential decline.

During the first quarter, Altera repurchased 220,449 shares of its common stock for $8.2 million, and ended the quarter with $3.6 billion in cash and investments.

The company's board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.08 per share, payable on June 1 to shareholders of record on May 10.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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