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January 15, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:04pm

INTEL BREAKS THE $20BN BARRIER AS Q4 PROFITS SOAR

By CBR Staff Writer

All Intel Corp’s 48,500 employees, from Andrew Grove down to the guy who holds the door open for him each morning in Santa Clara is to get $1,000 bonus this month as a thank-you for helping push the company over the $20bn revenue barrier and to an incredible 120% leap in fourth quarter profits year-on-year. The handout will cost the company a cool $48.5m, but that’s a mere grain of sand in the Valley considering the company’s $8.2bn net cash as of December 31, up from just $2.46bn twelve months earlier. The chipmaker put its success last year down to the penetration of personal computers into emerging markets, the spread of the internet, the start of a corporate computing upgrade cycle and even the role of the PC as a communications device, which is probably stretching things a bit, serving more as a plug for Intel’s role in the nascent videoconferencing market. Intel reported fourth quarter net profits that soared 120% to $1.91bn, or $2.13 per share, as revenues climbed 33% to $6.44bn. Intel’s shares closed up 25 cents at $147.125, which would seem to indicate the Street’s still of the opinion that top performers such as Intel have to produce numbers from the stratosphere in order to impress fickle investors. Intel’s $2.13 per share was way above the First Call consensus of $1.84 per share. Intel is looking to split it’s stock two-for-one pending approval at the annual meeting on May 21. Microprocessor and chipset unit shipments were at record levels during the quarter, but flash memory, embedded processors and microcontrollers felt price squeezes. motherboard unit shipments were down as a percentage of Pentium processors shipped, but with the Pentium Pro, a higher proportion of boards to processors was shipped, as is expected with a new chip. The geographic revenue split for the year was 42% Americas, 28% Europe, 18% Asia-Pacific and 12% Japan. Fourth quarter gross margins were 63%, compared to 48% a year ago, driven by a changing product mix, with more processors sold as a percentage of the total. Last year’s numbers were also hit slightly by inventory write-downs. Expenses increased by 35% to $1.2bn in the quarter due to higher research and development and advertising costs. Interest and other expenses were $133m, from $70m due to there being more money in the bank. Net profits for the calendar year were up 45% to $5.16bn, or $5.81 per share, as revenues rose 29% to $20.85bn. Intel said it expects revenue for the current quarter to be roughly in line with the previous one, at around $6.4bn. Gross margins are expected to be at or below the 63% just reported, and 60% plus or minus a few points for the current fiscal. Looking ahead Intel reckons that will fall to 50% give or take a point or two. First quarter expenses are expected to be four to five percent higher than the quarter just gone and interest and other income will be at roughly $130m. The tax rate for 1997 should be 35.5%.

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