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Texas Instruments CFO: Our Cash Strategy's Paying Off

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Texas Instruments (TXN - Get Report) may be wrestling with some major macroeconomic issues, as evidenced by its weak outlook this week, but CFO Kevin March says that the company's cash generation efforts are reaping dividends.

Revenue from the company's core analog and embedded processing businesses grew 2% year-over-year during its third-quarter results on Monday, and March said these areas now account for 70% of the company's revenue.

"That's resulting in massive cash generation," he said in an interview with TheStreet, noting that the company's operating cash flow was $1.2 billion during the quarter. "That's about $60 million higher than the prior year and about $526 million higher than the prior quarter," he added.

The chip maker has made a concerted effort to focus on analog and embedded processing, a strategy it says is delivering results for investors, even in a weak market.

March noted that the Dallas-based firm increased its quarterly dividend from 17 cents a share to 21 cents a share during the quarter and also increased its share buyback by a factor of two compared to prior quarters.

Texas Instruments' analog chips are sold into a broad range of products such as laptops, netbooks, servers and video surveillance equipment, while its embedded processing technologies can be found in DVD players, X-ray systems and MRIs.

A lot of post-earnings attention, however, was focused on the company's weak fourth-quarter guidance, the result of ongoing weakness in the semiconductor market and the broader economy.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Bobby Burleson, for example, lowered his Texas Instruments price target on Tuesday and maintained his 'hold' rating, citing headwinds on both revenue and margins. Sterne Agee analyst Vijay Rakesh reduced his estimates for the firm, noting the company's weak fourth quarter outlook.

For the fourth quarter, the Dallas-based company anticipates revenue between $2.83 billion and $3.07 billion, well below the consensus estimate of $3.23 billion.

"Customers are carrying very, very low inventories," said March. "This is largely because of their uncertainty about what demand looks like."

The finance chief said that a number of events are contributing to the atmosphere of economic uncertainty, from the U.S. election to the government change in China and debt issues in Europe. "These three regions are the largest economic regions on the planet and they are all in a period of uncertainty right now," he said.
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