May 31, 2012 / 9:30 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-OmniVision reports weak profit as margins shrink

* Sees Q1 adj EPS $0.16-$0.27 vs est $0.29

* Sees Q1 revenue $235-$255 mln

* Q4 adj EPS $0.20 vs est $0.22

* Q4 revenue slips 15 pct to $218.5 mln

* Shares fall 5 pct in after-market trade

May 31 (Reuters) - Image sensor maker OmniVision Technologies Inc reported a quarterly profit that missed Wall Street expectations and forecast weak earnings for the current quarter, as inventory write-downs dented its gross margins.

OmniVision shares were down 5 percent at $15.40 in after-market trade, after closing at $16.18 on Thursday on the Nasdaq.

The company — which makes back-lit image sensors for most Apple Inc products and for Motorola’s Droid series of handsets — has faced intensifying competition in recent times as several companies, including Sony Corp, launched similar sensors.

OmniVision’s stock price has halved since last July as it lost a major contract to supply image sensors for Apple Inc’s latest phone iPhone 4s to Sony.

The company — which pioneered imaging sensors that use both sides of a chip to deliver better quality in a smaller-sized camera — forecast first-quarter adjusted earnings of 16 cents to 27 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting 29 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company expects first-quarter revenue of $235 million to $255 million, while analysts are expecting $219.2 million.

OmniVision’s net income for the fourth quarter was $2.7 million, or 5 cents per share, compared with $34 million, or 56 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 20 cents per share.

Revenue fell 15 percent to $218.5 million.

Analysts expected earnings of 22 cents a share, on revenue of $205.4 million.

Gross margin for the fourth quarter fell to 22.5 percent, from 30.7 percent a year earlier.

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