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FSI International


reported fourth-quarter operating earnings of 36 cents a diluted share, beating analysts' estimates.

According to a

First Call/Thomson Financial

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survey, three analysts expected the company to earn 31 cents a share for the period. The operating results exclude a previously announced restructuring charge of 15 cents a share. FSI earned 19 cents a share in the same period a year ago, including a gain from the sale of the company's chemical management division.

Sales for the fourth quarter rose to $75.3 million from $32.7 million last year. FSI said that, with fourth quarter orders of more than $130 million, the company began fiscal 2001 with $184 million in backlog. As a result, the company expects first-quarter sales to be "flat or up slightly" compared with the fourth quarter. The company added that full-year sales are expected to exceed $300 million, compared with $220 million in the latest fiscal year.

Analysts expect the company to earn 26 cents a share in the first quarter.

FSI, which supplies processing equipment used to make microelectronics, expects strong orders in the first quarter of fiscal 2001, but at levels below the fourth quarter.

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