Chip-equipment maker

Novellus

(NVLS)

matched second-quarter expectations for revenue and earnings.

The company reported sales of $222.1 million and net income of $12 million, with earnings of 8 cents per share, calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles.

Analysts were expecting sales of $221 million and earnings of 8 cents per share. Sales were down 41% from the $376.9 million in the second quarter of 2001 and were up 30% from the prior quarter's $169.7 million.

In after-hours trading, the stock had lost 3.4%, trading at $28.55. Monday the stock closed down 24 cents, losing 0.8% to close at $29.55.

Earnings came in a painful 80% below last year's levels of 40 cents per share, but were up from the prior quarter's 3 cents per share (which reflects special benefits and a one-time sale on an investment totaling $9 million).

The balance sheet was a little bit tighter: the value of cash and short-term investments decreased by just under 8%, to $1.8 billion.

In a prepared statement, CEO Richard Hill said the company is "committed to our continued investment in advanced products and technology despite the cyclical environment of our industry. The benefits of investments made in prior downturns are reflected in our financial results and our ability to gain market share in key areas."

The company's shipments increased sharply in the second quarter, up 64% sequentially to $241 million.

Though chip-equipment bookings have seen growth for seven quarters running, the pace of that growth is

slowing, according to statistics released last week from an industry trade group.

Still, chip-equipment companies are predicting sales will grow by 29% in 2003 as a cyclical pick-up gets underway.