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ARM Posts Market Beating Earnings On Strong Demand For Its Microchips

By Lilly Vitorovich LONDON--U.K. microchip designer ARM Holdings PLC (ARM.LN) Wednesday reported a bigger-than-expected rise in second-quarter profit as it benefits from the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets, and forecast that its annual revenue will be in-line with market expectations. In April overall market consensus was for ARM's full-year revenue to rise around 10% to $860 million. ARM said it enters the second half of the year with a "record order backlog and a robust opportunity pipeline." Net profit jumped 48% to 39.4 million pounds ($61.1 million) for the three months ended June 30 from GBP26.6 million a year earlier, driven by solid demand for its designs. Strong sales of digital devices, including smartphones and tablets led to 2 billion ARM-designed chips being shipped in the second quarter of 2012, up 9% from a year earlier. That compares with a 4% fall in broader industry shipments over the same period, according to ARM. ARM's low-cost and energy efficient microchip designs can be found in most mobile phones, including Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and iPad tablets, as well as Samsung Electronic Co.'s (005930.SE) range of Galaxy mobile phones. Overnight, Apple said it sold 26 million iPhones and 17 million iPads in the three months to June 30, while Samsung is expected to report second-quarter earnings on Friday. Still, competition is heating up as Intel Corp. (INTC), which dominates the overall chip market, is targeting the lucrative market of smaller handheld devices. ARM isn't sitting still, however, with its designs to feature in Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows 8 software. Intel earlier this month reported a 4% fall in second-quarter net profit and cut its annual guidance, citing weaker demand for personal computers. Intel, which makes the chips that serve as calculating engines in most PCs, said it now expects revenue to rise by 3% to 5% this year, down from its previous guidance for "high single-digit" percentage growth. Intel largely blamed the slowdown in demand on the difficult macroeconomic environment. ARM reported a 15% rise in revenue to GBP135.5 million from GBP117.8 million, beating market expectations of GBP129.8 million. Revenue in dollar terms, a figure closely watched by analysts as the company generates the bulk of its sales in that currency, rose 12%. Profit before tax and exceptional items--another figure closely tracked by analysts--jumped 23% to GBP66.5 million, ahead of expectations of GBP57.8 million. That compares with GBP54.2 million a year earlier. ARM declared an interim dividend of 1.67 pence, up 20% from a 1.39 pence a year earlier. ARM shares closed 2.7% lower Tuesday at 485 pence, valuing the company at GBP6.68 billion. Write to Lilly Vitorovich at lilly.vitorovich@dowjones.com; Twitter: @LillyVitorovich Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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