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Texas Instruments Points to Signs of Chip Industry Revival

Ian King

(Bloomberg) -- Texas Instruments Inc. gave a quarterly sales and profit forecast that was in line with estimates, indicating that demand from electronics makers is poised to improve amid progress resolving the China-U.S. trade dispute.First-quarter earnings will be 96 cents a share to $1.14 a share, on revenue of $3.12 billion to $3.38 billion, the Dallas-based company said Wednesday in a statement. On average, analysts predicted profit of $1.04 a share and sales of $3.2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Texas Instruments has the biggest customer list and widest product range in the semiconductor industry, making its earnings an indicator of demand across the economy. The company has told investors the electronics business is in the middle of a typical cyclical decline after companies ordered too many parts last year. Such gluts typically last five quarters. In Wednesday’s report, which also included fourth-quarter results, Texas Instruments posted its fifth consecutive period of year-over-year revenue declines.

“Most markets showed signs of stabilizing,” the company said in the statement.

The company’s forecast for the first quarter was held back by the outlook for the communications equipment industry, which is “going down hard,” Chief Financial Officer Rafael Lizardi said during a conference call. Texas Instruments’ key industrial and automotive markets are close to returning to growth, he said.

Shares fell about 1% in extended trading after closing at $133.34 in New York. Despite the revenue declines, the stock has posted a 38% gain in the past 12 months.Three months ago, Texas Instruments said that the U.S. trade dispute with China, the world’s largest market for semiconductors, was adding to customer caution. Since then the countries have signed the first part of what’s promised to be a comprehensive set of trade agreements.

Like other chipmakers, the company has raised to the U.S. government the risks to the industry from the trade fight with China and the action taken against Huawei Technologies Co., the Chinese telecommunications equipment giant. The Trump administration has barred U.S. companies from doing business in many cases with Huawei, citing national security concerns.

Texas Instruments generated 3% to 4% of its annual revenue in 2019 and 2018 from Huawei, one of the biggest buyers of semiconductors, the company said.

On Wednesday, Texas Instruments reported fourth-quarter net income fell to $1.07 billion, or $1.12 per share, from $1.24 billion, or $1.27, in the same period a year earlier. Revenue dropped almost 10% to $3.35 billion. Analysts had estimated a profit of $1.01 a share on sales of $3.21 billion.

The company’s chips perform basic functions in everything from factory machinery to mobile phones. Texas Instruments gets the biggest portion of its revenue from the industrial market and is also a major supplier to automakers and telecommunications equipment producers.

(Updates with comment from CFO in the fifth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack

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