* Operating profit, ex one-offs beats forecasts
* Sees fiscal Q2 revenue rising by about 5 pct
* Automotive and security chips to drive Q2 sales
* Shares hover around 2-year high
(Rewrites, adds shares, CEO, analyst comment)
By Harro Ten Wolde
FRANKFURT, Jan 30 Infineon expects
demand for microchips used in cars and smartcards to boost
quarterly revenue, giving the German chipmaker an edge over
rivals more heavily exposed to tough smartphone and tablet
Infineon, whose chips activate airbags, enable cruise
control and cut vehicle emissions, said on Thursday revenue
should rise by about 5 percent in the three months to March from
the previous quarter.
The Neubiberg, southern Germany-based company is benefiting
from a recovery in the chip market as the outlook for the global
The global chip market is expected to expand by almost 3
percent this year to $329 billion and to $366 billion in 2017,
research firm IDC estimates.
"Positive forecasts for the global economy underpin our
positive outlook," Chief Executive Reinhard Ploss said.
Infineon shares were up 3.8 percent, hovering around
two-year highs, by 1210 GMT. They were the second-biggest gainer
in the FTSEurofirst 300 index of Europe's leading shares
Ploss said Infineon received more orders than it filled in
the first quarter, with strongest demand for its automotive
Rivals that are more dependent on chips for smartphones and
tablets have posted disappointing results.
Leading mobile chipmaker Qualcomm on Wednesday
posted first-quarter revenue that missed expectations, days
after Apple posted a weak revenue forecast, renewing
fears about Chinese demand.
Although Infineon still makes chips for mobile devices it
does not depend heavily on that market because it sold its
wireless business to Intel in 2011.
It 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.
Europe is set to end six years of falling auto sales in 2014
with a 2 percent increase in passenger car registrations, the
Association of European Carmakers (ACEA) said earlier this week.
Infineon is also pinning its hopes on its security chips
business, which targets a $2.2 billion market for smart cards
used for electronic payments. The division accounts for 10
percent of sales and has Hewlett-Packard among its
The former Siemens unit also affirmed its outlook
for revenue to rise by 7-11 percent to 4.11-4.27 billion euros
($561-$583 billion) in its current year ending Sept. 30, with a
core operating profit margin of 11-14 percent, up from 9.8
percent the previous year.
"Infineon's earnings guidance seems to be conservative,"
said DZ Bank analyst Harald Schnitzer in a note to clients,
confirming his "buy" rating for the stock.
Operating profit for the financial first quarter through
December, excluding special items, more than doubled from the
previous year to 116 million euros, beating even the most
optimistic estimate in a Reuters poll.
($1 = 0.7329 euros)
(Reporting by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Erica Billingham)