NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Chip maker Himax Technologies Inc. posted a sharp drop in its first-quarter profit Monday as orders declined amid the economic turmoil, but issued a better-than-expected forecast for the current quarter on rebounding demand. The news sent its U.S.-traded shares higher in after-hours trading, gaining 31 cents, or 12 percent, to $2.90. The stock had closed up 12 cents at $2.59. The Taiwan-based company said its net income attributable to shareholders fell 87 percent to $4.4 million, or 2 cents per American Depositary share, from $34.1 million, or 18 cents per ADS, in the same period a year earlier. Excluding items, Himax earned 4 cents per ADS in the latest quarter. Revenue tumbled 46 percent to $125.7 million from $23.6 million. Analysts, on average, were expecting a profit of 3 cents per ADS on sales of $139.1 million, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters. Analysts typically exclude one-time items from their estimates. "Our customers' orders declined significantly toward the end of 2008," said Jordan Wu, president and chief executive, in a statement. He added that the company did start to see improvement in demand for its products, due mainly to "overall inventory replenishments and the stimulus program implemented by the Chinese government for certain electronic appliances sold in rural areas."
For the second quarter, Himax expects revenue to grow by 52 percent to 55 percent sequentially, which implies sales of $191.1 million to $194.8 million. It also anticipates gross margin will remain flat and earnings of 7 cents to 9 cents per ADS. Analysts expect a more modest profit of 6 cents per share on sales of $159.1 million, a 27 percent increase from first-quarter sales.