Atmel Rises on Profit

It earns 5 cents a share before charges.
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Atmel

(ATML)

rose Wednesday after the microchip maker reported a profit in the fourth quarter, aided by higher revenue and reductions in non-core products and expenses.

The San Jose, Calif-based company earned $53.8 million, or 11 cents a share, compared with a loss of $7.1 million, or 1 cent a share, in the corresponding quarter last year. The latest quarter's earnings include restructuring charges, an arbitration benefit, a gain on the sale of a private equity investment and an income tax benefit. Excluding these items, earnings were 5 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to post a loss of 1 cent a share in the recent quarter.

Fourth quarter revenue rose 4.1% from a year ago to $425.2 million. Analysts were expecting revenue of $428 million.

For the first quarter of 2006, the company expects revenue to be flat to down 2% on a sequential basis, reflecting normal seasonality. Analysts estimate the first quarter revenue at $421.7 million.

"During the fourth quarter, the company improved gross margin, returned to profitability and managed to strengthen its balance sheet by reducing convertible note debt by $81 million," the company said.

The stock rose 25 cents, or 6.3%, to $4.20.

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