This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, September 6, 2001.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, good news out of tech land? Maybe. A chip- maker could be making more money down the road, as long as you forget about the road it has already travelled.
National Semiconductor lost just as much money as it said that it would and Wall Street thought it would: about 54 million smackers in the latest quarter.
But here`s the difference: The company says that it`s bookings are up. A good sign for the future? Let`s ask its chairman and CEO, Brian Halla, who joins us right now from Santa Clara, California.
Brian, good to see you again.
BRIAN HALLA, CHAIRMAN & CEO, NATIONAL SEMICONDUCTOR: Hi, Neil. Good to see you.
CAVUTO: I`m seeing the light here or am I imagining something?
HALLA: We had a lot of encouragement in the bookings part of our business. We were up 13 percent quarter on quarter. The turns bookings, which is bookings that are placed on us for immediate shipment, actually grew 2X in this quarter over last quarter. And so we -- we feel pretty good about the outlook. We`re going to have 5 to 7 percent revenue growth.
And you know, it`s a little too soon to call the turn...
CAVUTO: Well, let`s cut to the chase here. Are you saying that the worst is behind you? As far as just your company is concerned, you think the worst is behind you?
HALLA: We think the worst bookings quarter was the fourth fiscal quarter of our last year and worst billings quarter is the one we just completed. So we...
CAVUTO: So it`s picking up, albeit marginally, from those levels?
HALLA: That`s right. That`s right.
CAVUTO: So now if you`re right -- and a lot of people are seizing on this today, Brian, that maybe you, that this is the sign, the light that again that people have been waiting for. But every time they see it, it`s an oncoming train. How can you assure that it`s not?
HALLA: Well, we had this kind of funky fiscal year that ends in the last week in May. So we had the dubious honor of leading the industry into this goo...
CAVUTO: That`s right.
HALLA: ... and I`d love to think we`re -- I`d love to think we`re leading us out.
It`s a little too soon to...
CAVUTO: But they`re not -- I`m not -- I`m getting a lot more goop from these guys. You know what I`m saying?
I`m saying that, you know, Intel <Company: Intel Corporation ; Ticker: INTC ; URL: http://www.intel.com/> of course isn`t quite sure which end is up right now, and I don`t get a consistent read certainly from box-making guys, from the guys who (UNINTELLIGIBLE) business services. There`s no clear theme.
If even part of your theme is right, it`s all overblown, is it?
HALLA: Yeah. I think we`re all kind of on pins and needles wondering when we get end -- end-user consumer demand again. There`s quite a crisis of consumer confidence out there.
CAVUTO: What does your gut tell you?
HALLA: Well, I think that we`re kind of all waiting for the killer app. You know, it`s difficult to tell the difference between this year`s clock speed on a PC versus last year, and I think when we start selling GPRS handsets instead of GSM, that`ll move the market. But...
CAVUTO: Yeah, but all of this is noise. You know, a lot of people seem to put their hope in things like, you know, Windows XP or 2 gigahertz chip or all these new technologies for hand-held devices. Is it desperate or is there one new technology that could lead everything?
HALLA: Well, national strategy is, first of all, we`re an analogue company, so we`re going to do better when the industry comes out. But also, we`re doing a lot more incremental business with market leaders like Nokia <Company: Nokia Corporation ; Ticker: NOK; URL: http://www.nokia.com/> in cell phones and Samsung in flat-panel displays. And we`ve now put an entire GSM handset on four chips -- that`s in field- type approval. So we`re feeling pretty confident...
CAVUTO: That`s also -- I`m sorry to interrupt you.
HALLA: That`s all right. We had a stock chart here of how you`ve been doing over the last year and five years, and it`s caused some percolation of late on the hope that maybe, maybe you are on to something. Is Wall Street saying you are?
HALLA: Well, I think Wall Street likes our balance sheet. We`ve got just under 800 million in cash and virtually no debt. We`ve got best-in- class receivables. Our manufacturing machine is kicking butt every day, and I think we`re pretty well positioned, even for now if we don`t come out of this goo. But I think ultimately, if you believe in the Internet, you`ve got to believe in the semiconductor industry and you`ve got to believe some day we come out of this goo.
CAVUTO: All right, Brian, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.
HALLA: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: Brian Halla, the president and CEO of National Semiconductor, joining us out of Santa Clara, California.
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