STMicroelectronics Posts 3Q Profit

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- STMicroelectronics NV posted a profit in the third quarter as automakers, computer and consumer-electronics companies and industrial concerns bought more of its chips.

Sales to telecommunications companies were weak, but that didn't dampen investors' enthusiasm about the results, which exceeded Wall Street's forecasts and sent shares higher after hours.

STMicro, based in Geneva, is one of the world's biggest semiconductor companies, and it suffered along with the rest of the industry when the recession sapped corporate spending.

Its chips are used in a wide variety of devices, from airbags to digital TVs and industrial sensors, and it specializes in analog chips that help regulate power consumption and timing and the strength of signals in electric devices, among other uses.

The company said all of its regions and product divisions grew over last year, except the telecommunications segment. The strongest growth occurred in China and South Asia.

CEO Carlo Bozotti said although third-quarter bookings for some products "softened from the very high levels in prior periods," the company's backlog of business it has already booked but not been paid for yet will lead to growth in the fourth quarter.

STMicro expects that revenue will rise 2 percent to 7 percent over the third quarter, which translates to a range of $2.71 billion to $2.84 billion, which was in the range of the average estimate of $2.73 billion in a survey by Thomson Reuters.

The company earned $198 million, or 22 cents per share, in the three months ended Sept. 25, versus a loss of $201 million, or 23 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding special items, such as the gain from a divestiture and restructuring charges, the company would have earned 23 cents per share. Analysts had expected 21 cents per share.

Revenue rose 17 percent to $2.66 billion, slightly higher than analysts' forecasts for $2.64 billion.

The company also on Tuesday announced a new chief operating officer. Didier Lamouche, 51, who has more than two decades in the semiconductor industry, will replace Alain Dutheil, who is retiring.

STMicro's stock price rose 7.5 percent, or 61 cents per share, to $8.75 in extended trading, after the results were reported. It had fallen 1.6 percent, or 13 cents, to finish the regular trading session at $8.14.

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