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Sigma Designs Swings To 4Q Loss As Revenue Continues To Slide

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Sigma Designs Inc. (SIGM) swung to a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss as competitive pricing on newer products continued to hurt its top line. The company, which makes chips for television set-top boxes and Blu-Ray DVD players, produces technology that is poised to benefit from the growing adoption of Internet-based television, though Sigma has spent the past year in the red, partly due to lower revenue. Chairman and Chief Executive Thinh Tran has pointed to the company's transition to second-generation products, which have a lower average selling price, as a reason for its recent weakness. "Our current revenue level continues to be affected by our transition to second generation media processor and connectivity products," Tran said Wednesday. "These aggressively positioned second generation products provide us with cost and performance advantages that should result in higher overall unit volumes as we penetrate and deploy to a widening set of accounts over the course of this year." The company has meanwhile lost share to rivals such as Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) while struggling to gain traction with traditional cable providers. For the quarter ended Jan. 28, Sigma reported a loss of $18.8 million, or 58 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $2.5 million, or 8 cents a share. Excluding stock-based compensation costs, writedowns and other items, the company's per-share loss was 43 cents, compared with a 32-cent profit a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 29-cent per-share loss. Revenue dropped 50% to $35.6 million, at the low end of the downbeat $35 million to $40 million range the company provided in November. Gross margin narrowed to 46.6% from 49.4% on the revenue slump. Shares closed up 4.8% at $5.47 Wednesday and were trading lightly after hours. The stock had fallen 52% over the past year through the close. -By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909;

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