Novellus Systems Inc.'s (NVLS) first-quarter earnings fell 54% as revenue continued to decline amid weakness in the semiconductor industry.
Novellus is being acquired by Lam Research Corp. (LRCX) in a stock deal that values Novellus at about $3.3 billion. Both companies make products that help design and wire chips for specific functions. Novellus mainly supplies technology that deposits layers of film on semiconductors. Lam focuses on an adjacent step in the manufacturing process--etching the film to create features that define functions. Customers include large chip makers like Intel Corp. (INTC) and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE, SSNHY).
Novellus grew more cautious late last year as renewed concerns about the economy caused customers to postpone orders, but shipments and bookings rose sequentially in the latest period.
Novellus reported a profit of $44.4 million, or 59 cents a share, down from $96.4 million, or $1.04 a share, a year earlier. Excluding merger-related costs and other impacts, per-share earnings were 61 cents. Revenue slipped 21% to $326.7 million.
In February, the company had forecast earnings of 50 cents to 65 cents a share on revenue between $300 million and $330 million.
Gross margin narrowed to 47.3% from 50.4%.
Shipments rose to $319.2 million, a 15% increase from the prior quarter. Bookings were $361.7 million, up 26% sequentially.
Shares closed at $47.03 Wednesday and were unchanged after hours. The stock is up 14% since the start of the year.
-By Nathalie Tadena, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3287; firstname.lastname@example.org