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Cymer Blows Out Quarter

But the company is cautious in its outlook and trims top-line guidance.
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Chip gearmaker



surged 6% late Tuesday after blowing out its fourth-quarter numbers.

For its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the San Diego-based maker of deep ultraviolet lights for semiconductor manufacturing earned $8.4 million, or 22 cents a share, up from $1.7 million, or 4 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 38% from a year ago to $99.6 million, though that represented a 7% decline from third-quarter levels.

In any case, the numbers exceeded Wall Street expectations. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast a dime-a-share profit on sales of $93 million.

"We are pleased that fourth-quarter 2004 total revenue was higher than anticipated, bolstered by a stronger-than-expected transition of our light source sales to argon fluoride (ArF), and to a higher level of consumables sales just before the end of the quarter," said CEO Bob Akins. "Record shipments of our XLA Series light sources, our most advanced ArF products based on our dual-chamber Master Oscillator Power Amplifier (MOPA) technology, drove fourth-quarter ASPs to higher-than-anticipated levels. Total revenue reached a record level for the year, as did revenue for consumables, spare parts and service."

The company was more cautious about its outlook, trimming first-quarter guidance and saying its visibility on ordering trends remains limited to one quarter. Cymer said it expects first-quarter revenue to fall 20% from fourth-quarter levels, putting it about $8 million short of the consensus estimate. The company also said it expects to work down inventory in the first quarter and that this will hurt margins.

Late Tuesday, Cymer rose $1.50 to $24.98.