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Motorola chip biz reports rising orders, sales

Good Q4, bad year

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Motorola's soon-to-be-independent chip division made sales totalling $1.4 billion during the group's fourth fiscal quarter, the company said yesterday.

That figure represents a two per cent increase over the same period last year and sequential growth of 12 per cent. Orders increase 14 per cent during the quarter to $1.4 billion. Motorola said the increase on sales and orders was mainly due to increased activity among the Semiconductor Product Sector's customers in the networking arena.

SPS' income was up too: GAAP operating earnings rose from $18 million in Q4 2002 to $25 million in Q4 2003. Excluding one-off items, operating earnings for the quarter totalled $51 million, up from $7 million in the year-ago quarter.

For the year as a whole, however, the division lost $297 million on sales of $4.86 billion. Contributing to the loss was $74 million worth of employee redundancy payments, $30 million of which was taken in Q4.

Motorola as a whole notched up sales worth $8 billion during the quarter, up four per cent on the year-ago quarter's $7.7 billion, and 17 per cent sequentially. GAAP earnings reached $489 million (20 cents a share), up from $174 million (eight cents a share) this time last year.

Excluding one-off items, net earnings totalled $409 million (17 cents a share), compared to Q4 2002's $291 million (13 cents a share).

Looking ahead, Motorola said it anticipates Q1 2004 sales of $6.4-6.8 billion, yielding GAAP earnings of five to seven cents a share. ®

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