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Novellus Beats Estimates

But light revenue guidance hurts shares after hours.

Updated from 4:38 p.m. EDT

Chip-equipment maker

Novellus Systems

(NVLS)

blew past Wall Street's third-quarter earnings expectations but light revenue guidance hurt the stock after hours.

The San Jose, Calif., company said late Tuesday that it earned a profit of $70 million, or 57 cents a share, compared with a profit of $23.4 million, or 17 cents a share, in the same quarter of 2005. Sales jumped to $440 million from $339 million.

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Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for a profit of 51 cents a share on sales of $447 million.

Bookings in the third quarter were $470.3 million, up 2.8% from second-quarter bookings of $457.5 million. But shipments slipped 9.4% sequentially to $414.2 million.

Deferred revenue at the end of the third quarter was $148.6 million, a decrease of $29.8 million or 16.7%, from $178.5 million at the end of the second quarter of 2006.

During the company's conference call, Novellus said it expected to earn 49 cents to 53 cents in earnings in the fourth quarter on revenue of $415 million to $430 million.

First Call was expecting earnings of 50 cents a share on revenue of $444.9 million.

In after-hours trading, shares were recently off $1.19, or 4.2%, to $27.38.