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Chip company Intel may have had a bit of an annus horribilis on the old execution side in 1999, but there's one for thing for sure, it delivers like no-other on the old return on investment (ROI) front. That keeps the shareholders happy, and all you need to do is to look at its performance over the last 10 years to see that it's been a sound investment. That seems to be all that Wall Street cares about... Let's start with the net annual earnings per share Chipzilla has delivered since 1989. In 1989, that figure was $0.13, rising to $0.65 for year end 1993 and the same figure for year end 1994. For its year end 1996, it showed a spectacular rise to $1.45 per share, topping that the next year to $1.94, and only slightly falling for the year ended 1998 to $1.73. The figure for year end 1999 is likely to be slightly below that but the graph is pretty phenomenal. Just taking the last four years of Chipzilla's history shows the kind of growth the company has delivered to its shareholders. Turnover for the 1994 financial year amounted to $11.5 billion, for 1995 $16.2 billion, for 1996 $20.9 billion, for 1997 $25 billion, and for 1998 $26.3 billion, with net profitability rising from $2.2 billion in 1994 to $6 billion in 1998. So how will Chipzilla 2000 fare? Many analysts maintain that its move to become, in its own words, "an Internet building block" company is likely to work. Faced now with real competition from its upstart rival Advanced Micro Devices, it's likely that we'll all be able to crank our machines to faster and faster speeds for less and less money through next year. There's no doubt whatever in our mind that Intel's experience with the Athlon, and the various other things it has failed to do properly are taken seriously in Satan Clara. Up at the higher levels of management, we are given to understand it's a little like Red China's Cultural Revolution, with a cyber Gang of Four demanding a re-evaluation at all levels of the firm. Unless Old Mother Shipton (passim) was right and the world comes to an end in 1999, we see no reason why Chipzilla 2000 should fail to continue turning in exceptional revenues for the foreseeable future. ®

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