set the performance bar low in January for the first quarter and hit it.
Leading up to its first-quarter results, an improbable investor push led to some optimism that Motorola could do better than expected.
Following a good report from wireless chipmaker
, investors were hoping for an upside surprise as they marched Motorola shares up 9.8% in Tuesday trading for a $15.00 close.
The company managed to surprise on the earnings side, but only through the kind of write-offs investors have come to expect, and a big drop-off in mobile-phone revenue will no doubt cause Wall Street worry lines to crinkle further.
Motorola turned in $6 billion revenue, matching analyst consensus as reported by Multex.com, and its previously predicted 16% to 18% sequential drop.
That decline is in line with mobile-phone leader
16% projected slide. Post-
accounting stringency be damned, Motorola again subtracted large special charges, excluding $388 million in various impairment and severance costs, to give it a pro forma loss of 8 cents a share, compared with pro forma estimates from analysts of 13 cents a share.
Using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), Motorola lost 20 cents a share. Recent quarterly charges include $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2001, $2 billion in the third, $496 million in the second quarter and $279 million to kick off 2001. Motorola originally predicted that the company would lose money for the first two quarters of 2002 but make a profit for the full year.
In the fourth quarter, Motorola's leading performer, the Personal Communications Segment, was able to make a profit on $3 billion in sales. That 11% sequential jump was followed by a 23% drop in the first quarter to $2.3 billion in revenue.
At the same time, orders grew from $2.2 billion in the fourth quarter to $2.5 billion in the first quarter. Motorola announced a deal this week to offer its mobile phones to
for rebranding, indicating the company's dedication to boosting phone and chip-segment revenue by increasingly creative means.
Over in the struggling wireless infrastructure segment, Motorola saw things go from bad to worse, with revenue falling from $1.8 billion in the third quarter to $1.4 billion in the fourth and to $1.1 billion in the first.
Things may be improving, though: Motorola reported that orders rose to $1.3 billion in the first quarter, up from $1.1 billion in the fourth.
Motorola previously predicted its chip business would show sequential growth throughout 2002, and in the first quarter it stretched those expectations, with flat revenue from the fourth quarter's $1.1 billion in sales.