Nvidia posts biggest quarterly revenue growth in six years; shares soar

(This Nov. 10, 2016 story was refiled to correct the quarter in paragraph 12 to “third” from “second”)

The logo of technology company Nvidia is seen at its headquarters in Santa Clara, California February 11, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo

(Reuters) - Nvidia Corp reported its biggest quarterly revenue growth in more than six years as demand soared for its gaming chips used in personal computers.

Shares of the company, which also forecast current-quarter revenue above analysts’ average estimate, rose 14.2 percent at $77.40 in after-hours trading and were set to open at a record high.

Revenue rose 53.6 percent to $2.00 billion in the third quarter, blowing past analysts’ expectations of $1.69 billion.

“I certainly had suspected that the possibility of them beating consensus by a decent margin was certainly on the table,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Matt Ramsay said. “Did I expect them to beat consensus by $300 million? No.”

Nvidia commands a dominant share of the high-end PC gaming market, where its chips are used to power graphically demanding games such as Electronic Arts Inc’s “Titanfall 2” and Activision Blizzard Inc’s “Call of Duty” series.

Revenue from the company’s graphics processing units business, which contributes 85 percent to its total revenue, rose 52.9 percent to $1.70 billion in the quarter.

“Our new Pascal GPUs are fully ramped and enjoying great success in gaming, VR, self-driving cars and datacenter AI computing,” Jen-Hsun Huang said. “The GPU is no longer a niche component.”

Revenue at the company’s fast-growing data center business, which counts Inc’s Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Corp’s Azure and Alibaba Group Holding Inc’s cloud business among its customers, nearly tripled to $240 million.

Revenue from the company’s automotive business, which recently signed an agreement to supply chips for Tesla Motors Inc’s Autopilot system, soared 60.8 percent to $127 million.

Nvidia also increased its quarterly dividend to 14 cents per share from 11.5 cents and said it would buy back an additional $2 billion of its shares.

Nvidia forecast revenue to increase to $2.10 billion, plus or minus 2 percent, in the current quarter. Analysts on average were expecting a rise to $1.69 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Excluding items, Nvidia earned 94 cents per share in the third quarter.

The company’s net income rose to $542 million, or 83 cents per share, for the three months ended Oct. 30 from $246 million, or 44 cents per share, a year earlier.

Up to Thursday’s close of $67.77, shares had more than doubled this year, far exceeding the 6 percent gain in the broader S&P 500 index.

Reporting by Narottam Medhora in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Anil D’Silva