Rambus sales, earnings rise on royalties

Licences signed in 2003 start to pay off

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Memory technology developer Rambus saw last year's XDR licences start to pay off during the third quarter of its 2004 fiscal year, the company reported last night.

Q3 yielded revenues of $38.8m, generating income of $10.4m. Both figures mark sequential and year-on-year gains. Revenues were up 10.0 per cent on Q2 and 35.7 per cent on Q3 2003, from $35m and $28.6m, respectively. Earnings rose 25.3 per cent and 108 per cent over the same periods, from $8.3m and $5m, respectively.

Cash and equivalents fell $13m to $219m, much of the drop going into a $11.1m cash payment for the purchase of "certain serial link patents and cells" from Cadence. The company also bought back $7.6m worth of its own stock. The $5.7m discrepancy between the loss to the cash reserve and the total spent was covered by operating cash flow, Rambus said.

Q3's revenues were driven by ongoing royalties: $30.5m, up 24 per cent on Q3 2003 and three per cent on Q2 2004. Those royalties came primarily from the XDR memory technology - aka 'Yellowstone' - licences Rambus signed with the likes of Samsung, Toshiba and Elpida during 2003, it said.

Another defining factor in Rambus' Q3 numbers was the cost of litigation. The company's cost of operations rose 15 per cent sequentially, from $22.2m to $28.1m. Some $1.9m of the extra expenditure was due to an "increase in litigation expense", Rambus admitted.

Rambus is currently fighting memory maker Infineon, with both companies sueing each other. Rambus also has lawsuits in action against Hynix, Micron and Siemens, Infineon's former owner. It alleges they conspired to prevent Rambus' RDRAM competing fairly in the market. It wants a total of $1bn in damages from them all.

Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission is appealing against its own administrative judge's ruling that the organisation has no case to back its claim that Rambus acted fraudulently in its dealings with JEDEC, the memory standards organisation, during the development of the SDRAM specification. ®

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