UPDATE 1-Ceva profit, revenue top expectations, gains new customers

Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:52am EST

* Q4 non-GAAP EPS $0.20 vs $0.15 forecast

* Q4 revenue $14 mln vs $12 mln forecast

* Sees Q1 EPS $0.12-$0.14, revenue $11.6 mln-$12.6 mln

* Shares up 7 pct on Nasdaq

TEL AVIV, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Israeli mobile chip designer Ceva Inc reported higher quarterly net profit and revenue that beat analysts' expectations as it broadened its portfolio of products and secured new customers.

Ceva said on Thursday it earned 20 cents a share excluding one-off items in the fourth quarter, compared with 19 cents a year earlier while revenue rose 8 percent to $14 million.

Analysts had forecast Ceva would earn 15 cents on revenue of $12 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Its shares jumped 7 percent to $16.95 in early Nasdaq trade.

Chief Executive Gideon Wertheizer said the results represent the strongest licensing quarter in Ceva's history as the company penetrated new markets.

"Overall, during 2013 we made substantial progress in expanding our licensee reach beyond the cellular baseband market with our broadened technology portfolio," he said, noting Ceva signed 30 licensing agreements during the year, including 17 first-time customers.

It signed a record 11 licensing agreements in the fourth quarter, including six with first-time customers.

These new licensees will help to grow Ceva's royalty base. While royalty revenue fell 18 percent in the fourth quarter, this was in line with Ceva's outlook, Wertheizer said.

He told a conference call of analysts that sales of smartphones based on Ceva's technology rose 80 percent in 2013.

In the fourth quarter Ceva customer Intel began to supply its first chip for the LTE market for Samsung tablets.

Broadcom, also a Ceva customer, has been expanding its presence in China and other emerging markets and Ceva is receiving royalties from Broadcom's supply of chips to Samsung, ZTE and HTC smartphones, he said.

Ceva forecast first-quarter revenue of $11.6-$12.6 million compared with $12.1 million a year earlier. It sees diluted earnings per share ex-items of 12 to 14 cents compared with 13 cents a year ago.

Analysts were expecting the company to earn 15 cents on revenue of $12.3 million.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Find your dream retirement town

Florida? Hawaii? Reuters has teamed up with Zillow to give you the power to customize a list of your best places to retire.  Video | Full Article