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Atmel Is Uninspiring

The chipmaker, offering partial fourth-quarter results, misses on sales and says that won't get better.



on Thursday provided only certain nuggets of its financial results in the fourth quarter.

But the limited window into the chipmaker's financial performance was not very inspiring, and projections for the current quarter were especially lackluster, as Atmel said inventory concerns were forcing customers to pare back their orders.

The San Jose, Calif., chipmaker, missed Wall Street sales expectations for the fourth quarter, posting $408.9 million in revenue, up 4% year over year. The average analyst expectation called for $419.2 million, with a loss of 9 cents a share.

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Atmel did not disclose income details, owing to its continuing internal investigation into the backdating of past stock option grants, which Atmel has said will result in material, noncash charges.

"The fourth quarter was challenging as customers adjusted their ordering activity late in the quarter to balance their inventory levels," CEO Steven Laub said in a statement.

"The restructuring and cost-savings initiatives announced in December will help us successfully manage through the general market weakness that is expected to continue in the first quarter of 2007," Laub said.

Atmel said sales in the current quarter will decline 4% to 8% sequentially, suggesting a range of $376.3 million and $392.5 million, well below Thomson First Call expectations of $417 million.

The chipmaker has yet to file its complete earnings reports for the second and third quarters of 2006. Though Atmel's stock is at risk of getting delisted if it does not file the report by Feb. 9, the company said it believes that it will be granted an extension.

Shares of Atmel gained 6 cents at $5.89 in extended trading.