UPDATE 2-Silicon Laboratories Q1 tops Street, sees strong Q2

Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:12am EDT

* Q1 adj EPS $0.62 vs est $0.55

* Q1 rev $126.7 mln beats Street

* Sees Q1 rev $131 mln-$135 mln vs est $123.4 mln (Adds outlook from conference call, analyst's comments)

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

BANGALORE, April 28 (Reuters) - Chipmaker Silicon Laboratories Inc (SLAB.O) posted a quarterly profit that beat estimates and forecast a strong second quarter, driven by sales of its micro-controllers used in a wide array of products.

The company expects second-quarter adjusted earnings of 62 cents to 65 cents a share, on revenue of $131 million to $135 million.

Analysts expect earnings of 59 cents a share, on revenue of $128.4 million for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The broad-based products segment, which makes 8-bit microcontroller products, timing products and short-range wireless transceivers, is expected to grow in double digits sequentially and form the largest segment by revenue for the first time, the company said on a call with analysts.

William Blair and Co analyst Anil Doradla said the company is showing a greater shift toward its broad-based products segment, currently estimated to be about 25 percent to 30 percent of total revenue.

The shift augurs well for Silicon Laboratory's gross margin over the next 12 to 24 months as the broad-based business enjoys relatively better margins, Doradla said.

Silicon Laboratories, which competes with Cypress Semiconductor Corp (CY.O), Atmel Corp (ATML.O), Analog Devices Inc ADI.N and Broadcom Corp (BRCM.O), saw first-quarter gross margin rising to 66 percent from 61 percent last year.

First-quarter net income rose to $21.1 million, or 44 cents per share, from $671,000, or a cent per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company posted earnings of 62 cents a share.

Revenue was $126.7 million, up 51 percent from last year.

Analysts on average expected earnings of 55 cents a share, excluding exceptional items, on revenue of $123.4 million.

The company also said it bought Fremont, California-based Silicon Clocks -- a fabless semiconductor company -- to bolster its research and development team.

The buyout will help Silicon Laboratories use Silicon Clocks' CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) technology to move into more consumer centric applications -- an area from which the chipmaker has stayed away in order to protect margins.

"With this acquisition, Silicon Laboratory has a new technology that enables them to create timing and clock circuits at the lower-end consumer application world, without sacrificing their margin structure," Doradla said.

Shares of the Austin, Texas-based company, which have risen 78 percent over the last one year, were down 45 cents at $50.26 in late morning trade Wednesday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

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