Applied Materials Boasts 509% Increase in 1Q Profit

Led by higher sales in several of its business units and record environmental orders, Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) reported late Thursday a stronger-than-expected jump in first-quarter profit, leading the company to reveal an outlook well ahead of Wall Street estimates.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company posted net income of $506 million, or 38 cents a share, up six-fold compared with $83 million, or 6 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time items such as impairment charges, the company earned 36 cents a share, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 33 cents.

Revenue for the chip maker was $2.69 billion, up from $1.85 billion a year ago, trumping the Street’s view of $2.59 billion.

“Applied's solid first quarter was driven by continued strength in semiconductor systems and record profitability in solar,” said Mike Splinter, the company’s chief executive. “We see momentum building in our end markets and expect our company's fiscal year revenue to be more than $11 billion, exceeding our previous record by over a billion dollars.”

The company’s silicon systems group booked orders of $1.61 billion, down 4% sequentially, though its sales still rose 1%. Applied global services saw orders of $552 million, which were 13% lower from the quarter prior, those its revenue widened by 10%.

While display orders slipped 19%, due primarily to a cyclical decline in LCD equipment demand, energy and environmental solutions hit record orders of $668 million, up 22% sequentially.

Next quarter, Applied anticipates earnings in the range of 34 cents to 38 cents a share. The company sees non-GAAP earnings in 2011 of $1.40 a share, higher than Wall Street estimates of $1.29 a share.