STMicroelectronics N.V.'s first quarter profit more than doubled on lower operating costs but the semiconductor supplier missed analysts' earnings per share estimate as gross margins succumbed to pricing pressures.
The Geneva-based company said it earned $79 million, or 9 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 29, up 140% from $33 million, or 4 cents a share in the first quarter of 2002. Analysts polled by First Call expected the company to report earnings of 10 cents per share.
At $1.62 billion compared with $1.36 billion in the year-ago quarter, ST's revenue slightly exceeded analysts' revised forecasts, although the company estimated it could have performed even better if customers had not postponed orders in the last month of the period.
"As anticipated, difficult market conditions persisted in the 2003 first quarter," said Pasquale Pistorio, ST's president and chief executive, in a statement. "On a year-over-year basis, ST's revenue performance showed a marked improvement. Sequential comparisons, however, were affected beyond normal seasonal patterns, as business and geopolitical uncertainties caused order push-outs."