NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) posted record results for the fiscal first quarter and boosted its guidance for the year on soaring demand for wireless devices.
The San-Diego-based semiconductor company--which helped popularize a technology used in many cellphones called code division multiple access--has benefited from its high exposure to the sweet spot for consumers, specifically smartphones and other mobile devices.
Its chips are used in 3G cellphones, including the upcoming Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone for Verizon Wireless, and it also is providing chips for the next-generation mobile broadband network known as Long-Term Evolution.
Chairman and Chief Executive Paul Jacobs said Wednesday that Qualcomm's record revenue, per-share earnings and mobile station modem chipset shipments were driven by "increased demand for smartphones and data-centric devices across an expanding number of regions and price points."
With no sign of demand slowing, Qualcomm--the world's biggest wireless chip maker--boosted its year guidance and projected better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter results. The second-quarter results will include a 9-cent per-share earnings benefit, or $250 million in revenue, from the resolution of a licensing dispute with an unidentified company, executives said on a conference call.
The company said shipments of CDMA devices should total 750 million to 800 million units in calendar year 2011, up 15% to 23% from the expected 640 million to 660 million units in 2010. Both yearly shipment estimates are a boost from Qualcomm's expectations in November.
The average selling price for phones in the quarter was $201 to $207 per unit, up 12% sequentially. The company expects the average price to rise in 2011 to between $190 and $200, up from a range of $183 to $189 for all of 2010.
But Qualcomm cautioned the average prices will decline modestly throughout the year from the high in the first quarter.
"We will see a little bit different mix [to higher demand for mass market smartphones] as we unfold through the year," Steve Mollenkopf, head of Qualcomm's chipset business, said in a interview. "But it's a little better mix than we thought in November."
Shares, up 11% over the past 12 months, jumped 6.1% to $55 in after-hours trading.
Qualcomm has been taking actions to broaden its reach, including making acquisitions. It recently said it was buying fellow chip maker Atheros Communications Inc. (ATHR) for $3.1 billion to help it expand its Wi-Fi and other connectivity offerings. And it reached a deal to sell a swath of spectrum licenses to AT&T Inc. (T) for $1.93 billion as Qualcomm planned to shutter its FLO TV, a struggling mobile broadcast video service that used the spectrum.
Qualcomm makes much of its profit on licensing patents based on its 3G technology. It shipped a record 118 million mobile station modem chips in the first quarter, up 28% from the previous year and 6% sequentially. The company forecast shipments to be 113 million to 117 million units in the second quarter, up 22% to 26% from the previous year.
For the quarter ended Dec. 26, Qualcomm reported a profit of $1.17 billion, or 71 cents a share, up from $841 million, or 50 cents, a year earlier. Excluding items such as a loss in the Qualcomm strategic initiatives segment and stock-based compensation, per-share earnings rose to 82 cents from 71 cents. The company had forecast per-share earnings excluding items of 70 cents to 74 cents.
Revenue jumped 25% to $3.35 billion compared with Qualcomm's expectations of $3.05 billion to $3.35 billion.
Operating margin rose to 33.2% from 32.9%.
Qualcomm also raised its current-year per-share earnings forecast, excluding items, to $2.91 to $3.05, up from previous expectations for $2.63 to $2.77, on revenue of $13.6 billion to $14.2 billion, up from its guidance of $12.4 billion to $13 billion.
In addition, the company forecast current-quarter earnings excluding items of 77 cents to 81 cents a share on revenue of $3.45 billion to $3.75 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, which typically exclude items, expect earnings of 68 cents a share on revenue of $3.12 billion.
Margins in the chipset business are expected to post a "pretty substantial decline" from the first quarter to the second, Chief Financial Officer Bill Keitel said on a conference call.
--Nathan Becker contributed to this article.
Copyright © 2011 Dow Jones Newswires