Microchip Technology ( MCHP), a maker of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, said its first-quarter earnings rose 26.2% from the year-ago period, driven by revenue growth at microcontroller business. The company earned $77million, or 35 cents a share, compared with $61 million, or 29 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Adjusted for items, earnings were 37 cents a share in the most recent quarterAnalysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 36 cents a share. First-quarter revenue rose 20.2% to $262.56 million. For the second quarter, the company is projecting earnings of about 39 cents a share, excluding stock based expenses of 2 cents a share, on revenue growth of 4% sequentially. Analysts were forecasting earnings of 38 cents a share on revenue of $272.18 million.Revenue at microcontroller business rose 21% over the year ago quarter. Flash microcontroller business revenue rose 46%. Separately, the company said it is raising its quarterly dividend payment by 9.3% sequentially to 23.5 cents a share. Gross profit increased 24.3% to $158.5 million and gross profit margin rose 200 basis points to 60.4%. "We are very pleased to have delivered yet another record quarter in nearly every respect, " the company said. "Net sales exceeded the one billion dollar run rate for the first time in our history."