A lot has changed in the 54 years since Texas Instruments (TXN - Get Report) invented the integrated circuit. Today, the Dallas-based firm is the biggest analog chipmaker in the world, boasting a presence in devices ranging from mobile devices, industrial equipment, and medical devices. Yes, the firm maintains a calculator business -- but the source of Texas Instruments' household-name status among math students only makes up around 5% of the firm's overall sales.
As the semiconductor industry regroups, so too is Texas Instruments. The firm has been entrenching itself in the chip business, spending money on next generation manufacturing equipment and acquiring National Semiconductor last year in a deal that dramatically boosted TXN's positioning in the analog chip market. The firm's exposure to the high-growth mobile device market is a big positive for TXN -- it helps spare the firm from the slow growth of the rest of the chip industry. With mobile device sales unlikely to slow in the near-term, investors should get rewarded by the sales this year that finally eclipse pre-recession highs.
While the National Semiconductor acquisition upped Texas Instruments' debt load, the firm's balance sheet health was excellent leading up to the purchase, so total debt isn't out of hand. While it's likely we'll see TXN reduce that debt number in the next few years, the firm is upping its shareholder returns by paying out a 3% dividend right now. That should help buy some time for impatient investors.