National Semiconductor Corp’s decision to get out of the commodity chip business in July by spinning out its Fairchild Semiconductor Corp business resulted in a $256.3m charge, which together with a $10.6m charge for purchased research and development from the acquisition of Cirrus Logic Inc’s PicoPower business at the same time drove the company into the red in the first quarter to the tune of $207.6m, against profits of $73.5m a year ago. Revenues fell 19% to $566.1m. Orders worldwide were up against the previous quarter, but 10% down on the year before. Personal Computer manufacturers were the biggest takers, along with LAN companies and wireless communications. But analog and logic multi-market orders were down on last year. North American and South East Asian orders were up, while those in Europe and Japan were flat. Gross margins slumped from 43.1% to 30.4%.
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