Updated from 5:48 p.m. EDT Third-quarter profit nearly tripled at Freescale Semiconductor ( FSL) as gross margin jumped from a year earlier.

The company said late Thursday that earnings rose to $164 million, or 38 cents a share, from $57 million, or 15 cents a share, a year earlier.

Sales rose to $1.45 billion from $1.43 billion a year earlier. Ironically, all of the company's divisions had flat or lower sales for the quarter, save for one: the company's wireless and mobile solutions unit saw sales rise to $438 million from $404 million.

Gross margin was 43.3%, up from 39%% a year ago. Gross margin in the third quarter of 2005 benefited from "higher capacity utilization along with continued cost controls and operational efficiencies," Freescale said.

For the fourth quarter, the company expects to revenue of $1.425 to $1.525 billion, with gross margins slightly above third-quarter results.

Shares of Freescale gained nearly 3.4% after hours, up 74 cents to $22.55 on Instinet.