MIGDAL HAEMEK, Israel -- Tower Semiconductor Ltd., the struggling chip foundry here, announced today that revenue for the fourth quarter rose 34.5% to $22.5 million from $16.7 million in the same quarter of 1998, while its net loss dropped 32% to $2.9 million, or 21 cents per share, from a loss of $4.2 million a year ago.
For the fiscal year, ended Dec. 31, 1999, revenue stayed flat, at $69.8 million compared with $69.6 million for fiscal 1998.
The Israeli company had a gross profit for the quarter of $1.3 million compared with gross loss of $2.2 million in the comparable period of 1998. However, the operating loss totaled $3.3 million, which was down from a loss of $6.7 million in the fourth quarter of 1998 and $5.1 million in the immediately preceding quarter.
Sequentially, revenue was up 23.6% from $18.2 million, and net loss decreased 38.7% from a loss of $4.7 million, or 37 cents per share.
"Tower's fourth quarter sales showed accelerated growth and contributed to the improved overall financial results," said Yoav Nissan-Cohen, Tower's co-chief executive officer. "During 1999,we maintained our strategy of considerable investments in R&D and marketing together with strict cost control. The result was a significant increase in customer orders and improved bottom line results in the second half of the year."
Nissan-Cohen said he expected the company to turn around this year. "We are excited about the first orders for initial microFLASH products, and plan to enhance the features of the technology and position it in the market at its full value. We also see significant orders for our CMOS Image Sensor products, mostly for PC camera applications, and expect to introduce new applications and products throughout the year. Driven by the higher margins we can achieve for our new technologies, as well as our investments in capacity and the improved market conditions, we forecast sequential revenue growth and improvements in profitability. "