Texas Instruments Backs Financial Outlook

Chipmaker Texas Instruments Inc. on Wednesday reiterated its outlook for the first quarter, saying revenue will be on par with fourth-quarter 2001 levels and pro forma earnings per share will be "about break-even."

Dallas-based Texas Instruments, the No. 1 maker of computer chips for cell phones, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission projected that its pro forma nonoperating income would rise to about $15 million. Operating margin will improve about seven points, reflecting lower depreciation and steady inventory levels.

Research and development for 2002 will be $1.5 billion pro forma, the same as in 2001, while capital expenditures will fall to $800 million compared to $1.8 billion in 2001.

The expected decline comes after significant capital expenditures in 2000 and the first quarter of 2001 to install a production line at a fabrication facility in Dallas and upgrades at three analog facilities, the company said in the filing.

Investors did not appear to be impressed by the reiteration. Texas Instrument shares were down 92 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $28.88 in midday Wednesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Texas Instruments in January said it would break even in the first quarter after it posted a fourth-quarter loss that was narrower than expected.

The semiconductor industry had its worst year on record in 2001, with worldwide sales falling more than 30 percent from 2000 as an inventory glut, overinvestment in telecommunications infrastructure and weak economies took their toll.

Texas Instruments responded by undertaking a restructuring aimed at cutting expenses by trimming staff and focusing on more cost-efficient chip designs.

Wedburg Morgan Securities analyst David Wu on Wednesday said Texas Instruments has restructured its manufacturing and administrative costs during 2001 such that it should perform well as the industry recovers.

But he initiated coverage of the stock at "hold," and said the company would benefit by a reduction in the excess handsets in the distribution channel.