Orange County Business Journal

Microsemi Shares Up on Quarterly Earnings, Strong Outlook

Chris Casacchia Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shares of Irvine-based chipmaker Microsemi Corp. rose in afterhours trading Thursday after the company reported quarterly profits that beat Wall Street expectations and issued a strong outlook for the next quarter.

Microsemi, which makes chips for military, aerospace, industrial and consumer uses, reported an adjusted profit of $42 million, up 70% from a year earlier amid record sales and gross margins.

Analysts on average were expecting an adjusted profit of $41.4 million.

Investors sent shares up more than 9% in extended trading Thursday to a market value of about $1.6 billion.

Microsemi said record sales topped $216.7 million, up 59% from a year earlier and in line with analyst estimates.

Gross margins, a key measure in assessing technology companies, hit 57.1% percent, up 8.7% from a year ago.

“The continuing improvements in financial performance highlight our strategic success in integrating acquisitions, driving organic growth and delivering improved profitability to our shareholders,” said Chief Executive James Peterson.

Earlier this month Microsemi bought the millimeterwave technology and related assets of Florida-based Brijot Imaging Systems Inc., which debuted a hand-held scanner in May that could replace controversial pat-downs at airports and other security check points.

Its specialized technology helps detect weapons and contraband in airports, military posts, government buildings and other law enforcement settings.

The buy strengthened Microsemi’s position in the security market as it rolls out one of the first wands for touchless pat downs.

That was the second acquisition for Microsemi this month.

It acquired Sunnyvale-based “fabless” chipmaker ASIC Advantage Inc., building its position in the profitable aerospace and satellite industries, according to company officials.

ASIC designs and makes integrated circuits for the aerospace, automotive, communications, industrial and medical markets.

Products include controllers, sensors, analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, and radiation-tested devices.

Microsemi is in the process of buying Camarillo-based AML Communications Inc., which makes microwave amplifiers for defense communications, unmanned aerial vehicles and other products.

It’s paying $28.3 million to buy AML.

The offer topped a $24.3 million bid by East Syracuse, N.Y.-based Anaren Inc. that was made in February and initially accepted by AML.

Last week Microsemi grabbed headlines in the business press when it said it would take a $548.7 million cash bid for Canada’s Zarlink Semiconductor Inc. to shareholders after directors of the company turned down two earlier offers.

The hostile bid aims to extend Microsemi’s lineup in the communications and medical markets.

Zarlink counts on the communications sector for about 80% of its business and the medical sector for most of the rest. Its medical business makes ultra low-power radios for devices such as pacemakers.

On Wednesday news spread that Microsemi might have some competition as it pursues Ottawa-based Zarlink, which makes chips used by telecommunications and cable companies for bundled voice, video, data and mobile services, according to a Reuters report.

For the current quarter, Microsemi forecast an adjusted profit of $45 million to $46.6 million, which would be up about 60% from a year earlier.

Analysts on average expect a profit of $45 million for the current quarter.

Microsemi projects sales in the September quarter to increase 4% to 6% versus the June quarter.

That implies revenue of $225.3 million to $229.7 million, which would be up about 50% from a year earlier.

Analysts on average are forecasting sales of $221.6 million.