UPDATE 2-Infineon sees revenue and margin at top end of forecast range

Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:26am EDT

* Q2 operating profit 146 mln eur vs poll avg 129 mln

* CEO says order books filling up nicely

* Sees Q3 revenue up 4-8 pct quarter-on-quarter

* Shares jump 5.5 percent (Adds live share price, analyst comment, profit margin)

By Maria Sheahan

FRANKFURT, April 29 (Reuters) - German chipmaker Infineon toned up its outlook for the year on Tuesday as it published consensus-busting quarterly financial results, buoyed by robust demand from automotive and industrial customers and sending its shares higher.

Infineon, whose chips activate airbags, enable cruise control and cut vehicle emissions, is investing to answer growing demand from automotive and industrial customers such as engineering group Siemens, benefiting from an improving global economy and a recovery of European car markets.

It said it now saw revenue growth and its core operating margin for the financial year through September reaching at least the upper end of its target ranges of between 7 and 11 percent and 11 to 14 percent, respectively.

That is in line with analyst consensus for a sales increase of 10.6 percent and a margin of 13.5 percent, according to a Reuters poll.

"Infineon is in an excellent position to grow disproportionately in the next quarters," DZ Bank analyst Harald Schnitzer said, citing expected growth in the automotive and industrial businesses.

Shares in Infineon were up 5.5 percent at 8.60 euros by 0752 GMT, at the top of Germany's blue-chip DAX index, which was 0.8 percent higher.

STRONG DEMAND

Operating profit for Infineon's fiscal second quarter, excluding special items, more than doubled to 146 million euros ($202.1 million) from a year-earlier figure of 68 million, beating even the most optimistic estimate in the Reuters poll.

Its core operating profit margin widened to 13.9 percent from 7.4 percent in the year-earlier quarter thanks to above-average business from German premium automakers and demand for industrial drives and traction.

Infineon now gets almost half of its sales from the automotive sector, tapping into a $24 billion market and counting Continental, Robert Bosch, Mitsubishi Motors and South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor Co among its customers.

Revenue rose 14 percent to 1.05 billion euros as sales of chips for the automotive and industrial sectors grew by 14 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

"Demand for our products is strengthening and our order books are filling up nicely," Chief Executive Reinhard Ploss said in a statement, adding the company had a positive order backlog across all its businesses.

Infineon said it expected revenue to rise by between 4 and 8 percent quarter-on-quarter in the three months through June, with a core operating profit margin of 14-16 percent.

($1 = 0.7223 Euros) (Editing by David Holmes and Sophie Walker)