third quarter got better with age.
On Sept. 18, TriQuint CEO Steve Sharp told the Street to expect a penny more than its 3 cents a share earnings estimates. Turns out the revised analyst estimates of 4 cents a share were still too low, as the communications component maker went a penny better with 5 cents a share earnings on $80.8 million in revenue. According to Multex.com, analysts were expecting $79.75 million in revenue.
Gross margins drove the earnings picture, as improvements to the Sept. 18 level of 35% to 38% took another step up to 41.5% by the end of the quarter on Sept. 30. Mobile phones performed best for TriQuint, as TDMA orders dominated shipments, followed by strong CDMA activity. Sharp said the wireless phone segment "has been the quickest to rebound of all of our businesses."
The languishing wireless base-station equipment segment did not follow suit, in keeping with the industrywide downturn. CFO Ray Link estimated that the fourth quarter would be the worst for base-station products, but warned that "there's some strength there, but it's not tremendous."
TriQuint didn't predict much improvement in the two upcoming quarters. Executives expect $75 million to $80 million in revenue in the fourth quarter and 4 cents to 5 cents a share earnings, with $70 million to $80 million in the first quarter of 2002. More than 90% of the projected fourth-quarter revenue is already ordered, while 30% of the first quarter's revenue is booked. Sharp explained that in the past year, lead times on products have been cut in half, meaning he doesn't see orders as early.