If the mobile device market does well, ARM does even better
Shares in the UK semiconductor designer ARM Holdings hit a 12-year high on Monday, after the company posted better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter of 2012.
ARM reported a 16 percent rise in pre-tax profit for the three months ending with December, fuelled by the sales of smartphones and tablets that feature its chips. The overall share price of the Cambridge-based company went up 51 percent in the last 12 months.
ARM, the most successful venture to emerge from the ‘Silicon Fen’ area, doesn’t own foundries or manufacturing plants. Instead, it licenses chip designs to companies such as Samsung, Qualcomm and Apple.
For the fourth quarter, the company reported pre-tax profit of £80 million on revenue of £164.2 million, as opposed to profit of £75.6 million on revenue of £152.2 million expected by the analysts. These results show a 20 percent overall pre-tax profit growth in comparison with 2011.
According to the financial statement from the company, in the last three months of 2012 ARM signed 36 new processor licenses, mostly for the Cortex-A and Mali-based silicon. The quarter saw 2.5 billion ARM-based chips shipped, which resulted in a 21 percent royalty revenue growth.
CFO Tim Score told Reuters that in 2012, three quarters of “Internet-connected screens and devices” featured a chip designed by ARM at their core.
ARM enters a new year “with a record order backlog”, and it said that unless the macroeconomic situation deteriorates, it expects to outperform the semiconductor industry again in 2013, and at least meet its forecasts for revenue.
“Customers are developing products to meet the needs of the post PC era and are driving demand for ARM’s most advanced technology. In Q4 we again saw influential market-leaders demonstrating their commitment to ARM technology by licensing our latest products,” said Warren East, CEO of ARM in a statement.
“2013 brings exciting opportunities and challenges as ARM enters competitive new markets where we are well positioned to succeed,” he added.
A few weeks ago, ARM R&D chief Krisztian Flautner told TechWeekEurope that his company was able to challenge Intel not on the basis of silicon, but thanks to its innovative business model. “We are enabling a broad set of people to compete with Intel, and they are not really used to that,” said Flautner.
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