Qualcomm cautious despite robust fourth quarter

CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 10 November, 2008

Qualcomm's fiscal fourth quarter results were boosted by payments from its recent deal with Nokia, but it was cautious about 2009, highlighting the pressure on the CDMA market and on handsets in general.

The cellphone silicon market leader reported higher year-on-year revenues and net income for the quarter and the full fiscal year. For its fourth quarter, the company turned in net income of $1.06bn, up 16% percent year-on-year and sequentially, and revenues of $3.33bn, up 44% on last year. For the full year, Qualcomm net income of $3.74bn, up 10% year-on-year, and revenues up 25% to $11.13bn.

The chip designer said worsening macroeconomic conditions would hit growth in 2009. "While we are estimating strong growth for CDMA-based devices in calendar year 2009, driven by a shift to emerging markets, this growth is meaningfully less than we would have forecast just a few weeks ago," CEO Paul Jacobs said.

The last quarter was helped by a $2.5bn non-refundable upfront payment related to the new licensing deal Qualcomm struck with Nokia, after a long battle, in October. As well as the one-off payment, the chip giant noted consideration of "ongoing royalties and the assignment of patents that we recorded in intangible assets in the amount of $1.8bn".

According to IC Insights, Qualcomm has broken into the top 10 largest semiconductor suppliers in the world, a first for a wireless specialist. Broadcom jumped from 23 to 18 and leapfrogged Nvidia to become the world's second largest fabless chip vendor after Qualcomm. NXP dropped out of the top 10, falling from tenth to fifteenth.