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Texas Instruments Warns of Weak Demand

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Texas Instruments (TXN - Get Report) beat analysts' fourth-quarter estimates, but warned of weak demand.

The semiconductor specialist reported revenue of $2.98 billion, toward the high end of its recently narrowed guidance, but down from $3.42 billion in the same period a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast revenue of $2.95 billion.

Excluding items, Texas Instruments earned 36 cents a share, just above analysts' forecast of 34 cents a share.

"We continue to operate in a weak demand environment," warned Rich Templeton, Texas Instruments' CEO, in a statement. "Our visibility into future demand remains limited as our lead times are short and our customers are reluctant to commit to extended backlog."

The CEO, however, noted that Texas Instruments' strategy is paying off for investors. "Even in the current economy, our strategy is yielding high free cash flow and strong returns to our shareholders," he said. "For the full year, free cash flow of almost $3 billion grew 20% and was 23% of our revenue."

Templeton added that Texas Instruments returned 90% of its free cash flow to shareholders through share repurchases and higher dividend payments.

Texas Instruments shares dipped 0.5% to $33.29 in extended trading.

Fourth-quarter revenue from Texas Instruments' Analog business came in at $1.67 billion, down from $1.7 billion a year earlier. The company's Embedded Processing revenue, however, was $469 million, up from $442 million. Wireless revenue was $317 million, down from $722 million.

For the first quarter, Texas Instruments expects revenue between $2.69 billion and $2.91 billion and earnings between 24 cents a share and 32 cents a share. Acquisition and restructuring charges will be 6 cents. Earnings, however, will include a tax benefit of 6 cents resulting from the reinstatement of the R&D tax credit that was retroactive to the beginning of 2012.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for revenue of $2.89 billion and earnings of 34 cents a share.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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