Linear Technology ( LLTC) beat Wall Street's expectations for earnings and revenue in the March quarter, the chipmaker announced several hours after Tuesday's closing bell.

The Milpitas, Calif., company earned a fiscal third-quarter profit of $85.5 million, or 27 cents a diluted share, up sharply from the 19-cent profit a year ago, and 2 cents better than the consensus of analysts polled by Thomson First Call. Net sales were $209 million, up 36% year over year, 2% better than expected.

"Demand for our products has continued to be robust, increasing in each major end-market, led by industrial and communications, and increasing also in every major geographical area," CEO Robert Swanson said in a prepared statement.

Simpson said he expects top-line growth in the fourth quarter to be roughly equal to that of the third quarter, but did not provide other details. The company will elaborate on its report and outlook in a conference call Wednesday morning.

In after-hours trading, Linear's shares were recently up 93 cents, or 2.4%, to $40.17; in regular trading Tuesday, the stock lost 22 cents, or 0.6%, to $39.24.

The company said it will pay its regular quarterly dividend of 8 cents a share on May 12.

Linear builds analog chips for use in various applications including: telecommunications, cell phones, networking products and industrial instrumentation.

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