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Analog Devices (ADI) - Get Free Report posted an estimate-beating earnings performance, but its in-line forecast and disclosure of fines levied by the Securities and Exchange Commission may have diverted investors' focus.

Compared with a year earlier, the semiconductor maker's fourth-quarter results slumped: net income was cut in half to $68.3 million, or 18 cents a share, from $132.3 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales fell 2% to $622.1 million, slightly above Thomson First Call's consensus estimate of $615.3 million.

ADI said fourth-quarter results were reduced by 18 cents a share associated with previously announced restructuring charges and the repatriation of foreign earnings. Excluding these items, earnings of 36 cents a share bested analysts' consensus estimate of 34 cents a share.

For the first-quarter, the company said it expects revenue to be about equal with the fourth quarter, with EPS before items coming in at 36 cents a share. Analysts had been expecting the company to earn 36 cents a share on revenue of $625.9 million in the quarter now underway.

Separately, ADI said it has tentatively settled with the SEC a stock-option investigation disclosed at the end of last year. Regulators had been investigating the accuracy of the company's options grant dates, as well as their timing relative to releasing financial results, from 1998 to 2001.

While the company won't be required to restate any historical results from that timeframe, ADI will cooperate with a cease-and-desist order requiring it to pay a civil penalty of $3 million and re-price certain options granted to CEO Jerald G. Fishman.

And Fishman himself will pay a $1 million penalty and make a "disgorgement" payment related to options granted in certain years.Following the announcement, the company's shares fell nearly 2% in after-hours trading to $36.40 on Instinet.

ADI also announced that it boosted its quarterly dividend to 12 cents from 10 cents.