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TI CFO: Customers Becoming Less Cautious

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Texas Instruments (TXN - Get Report) noted an improving economic climate when it reported its second-quarter results after market close on Monday, with customers becoming less cautious about their business needs.

"We saw a slight shift occurring with customers giving us more visibility," said CFO Kevin March, during a phone interview. "We see that as marginally encouraging in that it suggests some increased confidence on the part of our customers."

The company's book-to-bill ratio, which refers to new orders that have not yet been fulfilled, was greater than 1 during the second quarter. This marks the second quarter in succession that the company has been growing its product backlog, according to March.

"Think of it as new orders coming in faster than we can build them," he said. "The visibility that customers is giving us is going a little further out in time."

Texas Instruments' shares closed up 4.04% at $38.93 during Tuesday trading, boosted by the company's second-quarter results and robust guidance.

The Plano, Texas-based firm reported revenue of $3.05 billion, in line with Wall Street's forecast of $3.058 billion. Excluding items, the company earned 42 cents a share, a penny more than analysts' estimate.

For the third quarter, the chip maker predicted revenue between $3.09 billion and $3.35 billion and earnings between 49 cents and 57 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for revenue of $3.2 billion and earnings of 54 cents a share.

Texas Instruments, which has been shifting its focus away from wireless chips said its legacy wireless products declined to less than 5% of overall revenue during the second quarter and should be less than 2% in the third quarter.

In contrast, Texas Instruments' analog and embedded processing products accounted for 78% of second-quarter revenue, 6 points higher than the same period last year.

"Both analog and embedded processing have the ability to generate ample amounts of cash," said March.

Texas Instruments had $3.2 billion of cash and short-term investments at the end of the quarter.

As for the broader economy, the CFO feels optimistic.

"Even if you just look at the general press and headlines, there's more recognition that the U.S. economy has a number of things going for it," he said, pointing, in particular, to the housing and automotive markets. "The houses that are being built require a log of appliances that need semiconductors -- also, strong auto sales require lots of semiconductors."

"We would all like the economy to be growing faster, but if we just step back and look at it -- it's not great, but it's doing OK," he added.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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