NEW YORK Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) reported quarterly earnings and revenue that blew past Wall Street expectations as demand increased for chips in devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, sending its shares up more than 8 percent.
The leading supplier of chips for cellphones also gave a bullish forecast for the current quarter and the year ahead, in stark contrast with bleak outlooks from other chip companies.
San Diego, California-based Qualcomm forecast first quarter revenue of $5.6 billion to $6.1 billion compared with Wall Street expectations for $5.6 billion according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. It forecast full-year 2013 revenue growth in a range of 20 percent to 26 percent from 2012.
The company's fourth-quarter sales were helped by the launch of the latest Apple Inc (AAPL.O) iPhone and other smartphones from Samsung Electronics Co (005930.KS).
"Clearly Apple is playing a part here, as is Samsung," said Charter Equity Research analyst Ed Snyder.
But he noted that the company was also helped this quarter by pent-up demand for its most advanced wireless chips as its revenue was stunted earlier this year by a shortage of 28 nanometer manufacturing capacity.
"The question is if it's a one-time shipment thing. How much of this was catch-up?" Snyder said.
Qualcomm told analysts on a conference call that it was able to boost its 28 nanometer chip supply significantly in the fourth quarter and that it is on track for supply to match demand for these chips by the end of December.
Chief Executive Paul Jacobs said the company is expecting strong growth in demand for its wireless chips "despite a somewhat cautious macroeconomic outlook."
"We believe our long-term growth drivers remain intact," Jacobs told analysts on the conference call. "Smartphone adoption continues at a rapid pace with many increasingly capable devices at a variety of price points being launched on a global basis."
Qualcomm's revenue rose 18 percent to $4.87 billion from $4.12 billion in the year-ago quarter and compared with Wall Street expectations for $4.66 billion according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Qualcomm said profit for its fiscal fourth-quarter ended September 30 rose to $1.27 billion, or 73 cents per share, from $1.06 billion, or 62 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Excluding unusual items, Qualcomm earned 89 cents a share compared with Wall Street expectations for 82 cents according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Qualcomm estimated first quarter earnings of 90 to 98 cents a share.
Shares of Qualcomm rose more than 8 percent to $62.95 in late trade after closing down almost 4 percent at $58.12 on Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Richard Chang, Bernard Orr)