Qualcomm sees no slowdown in smartphone growth for 2013

Chipset firm posts record quarterly revenue
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Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) reported strong results for its most recent quarter, including record revenue, and said that it does not expect the smartphone market that powers its chipset business to slow down in 2013.

The silicon giant said its net income for its fiscal first quarter clocked in at $1.91 billion, up 36 percent from $1.4 billion in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, revenue jumped 29 percent year-over-year to a record $6.02 billion, up from $4.68 billion. Qualcomm also shipped a record 182 million MSM chipsets in the quarter, up 17 percent year-over-year and 29 percent sequentially.

Importantly, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said the company no longer suffers from the component shortages that hindered Qualcomm in 2012. The company's manufacturing partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., had face issues increasing chipset production, leading to shortages. Jacobs said the issue has been resolved. "In the end, TSMC really did come through for us," he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "We are confident that we have gotten that problem behind us."

Looking ahead to its next quarter, Qualcomm forecasted earnings and revenue that beat analysts' expectations, according to Bloomberg. The company raised its guidance for the fiscal year 2013 due to expected success in Snapdragon 800 and 600 chipset sales and continued strong licensing deals. Qualcomm, in particular, is looking to emerging markets for growth.

"Emerging markets in general are going to be strong," Jacobs told Bloomberg. "We're definitely driving the low-end markets hard so we can get a lot of new people onto smartphones. Things are going well across the board."

That upbeat assessment contrasts somewhat with what Samsung Electronics said earlier this month about the smartphone market when it announced its fourth-quarter earnings. The company, the world's largest handset and smartphone maker by volume, said that "the furious growth spurt seen in the global smartphone market last year is expected to be pacified by intensifying price competition compounded by a slew of new products." In the first quarter, Samsung expects smartphone demand in developed countries to slow down, but the company does expect emerging market smartphone demand to grow. 

In other major corporate news, Qualcomm announced that CFO Bill Keitel, 59, will retire after 11 years as CFO, and that George Davis, currently executive vice president and CFO of semiconductor firm Applied Materials, will replace him effective March 11. Davis has been with Applied Materials for 13 years and earlier in his career was responsible for merger and acquisition activities, strategic planning and management of the company's venture investments.

For more:
- see this earnings release
- see this separate release
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this CNET article

Special Report: Wireless in the fourth quarter of 2012

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