SAN DIEGO – Wireless technology firm Qualcomm Inc. Thursday reported a fiscal first quarter net profit helped by slightly higher revenues as royalties and software fees increased, but it cited the weak economy in forecasting weaker revenues in its second quarter.
Qualcomm posted net income of $139.2 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with a loss of $419.2 million, or 56 cents a share, a year ago.
Excluding one-time items, proforma earnings were flat with a year ago at 23 cents per share, matching analysts' expectations of 23 cents according to Thomson Financial/First Call. Estimates ranged from 21 cents to 25 cents.
Revenues rose to $693 million from $651 million in the fourth quarter and from $655 million in the year-earlier period, basically in line with the First Call estimate of $695.1 million.
The company attributed the slightly higher revenues to higher royalties, increased shipments of its next-generation wireless circuits and higher software fees.
Qualcomm said it now expects second quarter proforma earnings of between 19 cents and 21 cents a share, and it expects revenues to fall 3 percent to 6 percent as it ships between 13 million and 14 million phone chips.
Analysts on average were expecting the company to earn 24 cents in the second quarter, according to First Call.
For fiscal 2002, the company said it sees revenue growth of about 5 percent to 15 percent and revised its expected proforma earnings to a range 90 cents to 97 cents. Analysts were expecting the company to earn $1.08.
The company had previously said it expected proforma earnings of $1.10 to $1.20 a share but it changed its guidance to reflect a change in its reporting method and the effect of the economy.
"As the Street was anticipating, the guidance was pretty weak," Edward Snyder, analyst with J.P. Morgan, said. "I'm looking (in the conference call) for indications of demand for CDMA2000 1X and the Chinese story here at this point."
China is one of Qualcomm's most promising markets.
Qualcomm owns all of the relevant patents to CDMA (code division multiple access) technology, which is the dominant standard in the United States and second-biggest standard in the world. It competes against an alternative standard called GSM, or Global System for Mobile Communications.
CDMA2000 1X is its next-generation technology, which promises higher capacity and high-speed Internet connectivity.
The company said it shipped 15 million CDMA chips, up from 13 million in the fourth quarter. It had expected to ship 15 million to 16 million chips in the first quarter.
Licensing revenues rose 13 percent to $210.8 million from a year ago. This compares to $189.3 million in the fourth quarter.
Qualcomm's shares closed up 17 cents at $43.71 on Nasdaq ahead of the news. The shares have rebounded by about 15 percent since hitting a 26-month low of $38.31 on Oct. 5. They have underperformed Standard & Poor's communications equipment index by about 10 percent over the past year.