Updated from 5:06 p.m. EDT
If tech investors were on the lookout for good news,
may have provided it.
A day after some of the technology world's biggest players posted solid results, the semiconductor company surprised Wall Street with an array of bullish indicators. Broadcom posted 11% sequential sales gain for the first quarter, offered a strong second-quarter outlook and even said it may be hiring soon. The Irvine, Calif., company cited strong demand for broadband communications chips.
Broadcom shares, trading well off their year-ago highs following a difficult year in the communications industry, jumped 10% in after-hours action.
First-quarter numbers were surprisingly solid. On an operating basis, excluding one-time gains and charges, Broadcom swung to a 6-cent profit in the latest quarter from the year-ago 63-cent loss. Sales jumped 37% from a year ago, to $327 million. Analysts polled by Multex expected a 2-cent pro forma profit on revenue of $308 million.
The company's actual GAAP loss was $67.9 million, or 25 cents a share, in the latest quarter. The company didn't disclose the items it took charges for or any specific gains in the earnings release, but said that all were noncash events.
In a conference call following the postclose earnings release, Broadcom said demand continues to improve. The company forecast that second-quarter revenue would jump 13% from first-quarter levels; analysts had seen a 5% rise off a lower base. Showing particular resilience have been the WiFi chips for local network interoperability and sales to Asian customers.
Evidently, business has been strong enough that Broadcom feels no compulsion to emphasize the cost-cutting that has been tech's big theme in recent years. Though the company didn't offer up any numbers, executives on a conference call with analysts said they will be hiring software and hardware engineers to keep up with the business' quickening pace.
Broadcom executives also defended last week's decision to reprice some out-of-the-money employee options, calling the swap an effective way to reduce the "overhang" of underwater options. Broadcom said at the time that it would
effectively reprice out-of-the-money stock options by allowing holders of some 57 million options -- those convertible into common shares at strike prices above $23.58 -- to swap those for 13 million new options or shares.
After the news, Broadcom jumped $1.14 in postclose trading to $15.19, following Wednesday's 22-cent regular-session rise to $14.05. The company's stock traded nearly $40 only a year ago.