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Altera Q4 Profit Down - Update


Programmable chip maker Altera Corp. (ALTR), Wednesday reported a lower fourth-quarter profit, as sales slipped four percent while operating costs increased. Both earnings and revenue for the quarter fell short of analysts' expectations, reflecting weakness in the global economy.

Moving ahead, the company expects sales for first quarter to decline 4 to 8 percent sequentially.

Commenting on the results, Chief Executive John Daane said, "While our new products had a double-digit sequential growth quarter, sales of our older products were soft—the result of a sluggish global economy."

Altera's sales for the three-month period dropped to $439.44 million from $457.80 million last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected revenues of $450.72 million for the quarter.

New product sales grew 39 percent year-over-year, while Mainstream product sales dropped 18 percent. Mature and Other product sales decreased 21 percent from a year ago.

Sales in Americas declined 12 percent year-over-year, while Asia Pacific slipped 7 percent, Europe Middle East and Africa sales grew 20 percent and sales in Japan dropped 19 percent.

Gross margin for the quarter dropped to 69.7 percent from 70.1 percent a year earlier, while operating margin declined to 31.4 percent from 35.0 percent last year. Total operating costs for the quarter increased to $168.2 million from $165.2 million last year.

San Jose, California-based Altera's fourth-quarter profit dropped to $120.8 million or $0.37 per share from $146.6 million or $0.45 per share last year. On average, twenty eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.39 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Moving ahead, Altera expects sales for the first-quarter of 2013 to be down 4 to 8 percent sequentially. Analysts currently estimate revenues of $461.78 million for the first quarter.

Altera also declared a dividend of $0.10 per share, payable on March 1 to stockholders as of record on February 11.

ALTR closed Wednesday's trading at $35.18, down $0.33 or 0.93%, on the Nasdaq.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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