Updated from April 20Judging by Tuesday's action, Motorola ( MOT) chief Ed Zander already may have earned his
Beating by a BuckFor its first quarter ended in March, the wireless giant reported earnings of $609 million, or 25 cents a share, on revenue of $8.6 billion. That's well ahead of the year-ago profit of $169 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $6 billion. The latest-quarter profit included about 7 cents of income from gains. On an operating basis, Motorola earned 18 cents a share in the period, which is miles ahead of the 7-cent Wall Street consensus as posted by Thomson First Call. The news only got better for investors, as Motorola followed news of the blowout first quarter with a substantial bump in second-quarter earnings guidance. The company said strong performances at its handset and soon-to-be-separated semiconductors units led the advance.
Finance chief Dave Devonshire, summarizing the company's financial turnaround, pointed out that Motorola is now "net cash positive for the first time in 35 years." That's to say the company's cash position is at last larger than its debt obligations. In handsets, the average selling price rose 12% sequentially, showing that the company is selling more expensive phones.
sabotaged Motorola's color camera phone sales last winter. Motorola also boosted second-quarter earnings guidance, saying the company would make around 16 cents a share on some $8.4 billion in revenue. Analysts had forecast earnings of 9 cents on revenue of $6.9 billion. Notably, Motorola announced in December that it would spin off its chip business, which is to be called Freescale Semiconductor. On Tuesday, Motorola slipped 50 cents to $16.20.