Chipmaker TowerJazz Q4 profit misses estimates, sees 2020 rev growth

TEL AVIV, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Israeli chip manufacturer TowerJazz missed earnings and revenue estimates in the fourth quarter but sees a return to growth in 2020.

TowerJazz, which specialises in analogue chips used in cars, medical sensors and power management, posted on Tuesday diluted earnings per share excluding one-time items of 22 cents in the quarter, down from 41 cents a year earlier. Revenue slipped to $306 million from $334 million, mainly due to a renewed contract with Panasonic in March.

It was forecast to earn adjusted EPS of 25 cents on revenue of $312 million, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

“Our customer forecast and present orders indicate good overall growth ramping sequentially throughout 2020, resulting in a significant second half 2020 performance as compared to the second half 2019,” CEO Russell Ellwanger said.

“We expect 2020 to achieve year-over-year growth with low double-digit organic growth.”

This will be achieved in the short to medium term by organic capacity growth and capacity growth through acquisitions for long-term demand, he said.

TowerJazz expects first-quarter revenue in a range of 5% above or below $300 million. Analysts are forecasting $301 million in revenue. (Reporting by Tova Cohen Editing by Steven Scheer)