ATI Profit Nearly Triples in Fourth Quarter

ATI Technologies Inc. reported Thursday its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings nearly tripled and the graphic chip maker said it expects first-quarter results to beat Wall Streetis estimates.

The company said fourth quarter earnings totaled US$61.2 million or 24 cents, up from $22.3 million or 9 cents in the same period a year earlier. Analysts had been expecting earnings on average in the most recent quarter of 21 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter increased 50% to $572.2 million, from last yearis $380.7 million. For the year, revenue rose 44.1% to $2 billion, while earnings per share increased nearly six fold to 80 cents, from 2003is 14 cents.

ATI attributed the strong annual growth to increased demand for its diverse product portfolio. "Our corporate strategy continues to produce returns,? ATI chief executive officer David Orton said in a prepared statement.

ATI is anticipating revenue for the first quarter of its fiscal 2005 to range from $600 million to $640 million, with gross margin roughly the same as this past quarter at 33 to 34%.

"ATI continues to be optimistic about its outlook for fiscal 2005, but anticipates some seasonality, where the first quarter is strong, followed by a slightly weaker revenue and profit profile for the second and third quarters," the company said. "The fourth quarter is expected to build off of the third quarter."