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Qualcomm earnings top estimates despite competitive phone business

However its earnings forecast for the current quarter was slightly below some analysts' expectations.

Asa Mathat

Qualcomm on Wednesday posted sales and earnings ahead of what many analysts were expecting amid strength in both its chip and licensing business.

The chipmaker said that, excluding certain items, it earned $1.6 billion, or $1.04 per share, on revenue of $5.5 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 96 cents per share on revenue of $5.34 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

It also announced a patent licensing deal with China’s Hisense and that it has reached an agreement over a dispute it had with Korea’s LG Electronics.

“We are pleased with our continued progress in the licensing business, including the recent conclusion of new license agreements in China and the resolution of our dispute with LG Electronics,” CEO Steve Mollenkopf said in a statement. “We are continuing to build momentum into the second half of our fiscal 2016 with traction for our Snapdragon processors in the premium and high tiers and strong execution of our strategic realignment plan.”

Qualcomm has managed to gain back high-end market share thanks to landing a spot in the Samsung Galaxy S7 after missing out on last year’s flagship model. It helped its case there by switching manufacturing of the chips to Samsung’s own manufacturing plant.

The Snapdragon 820 has also been the chip of choice in other high-end devices from HTC, LG and Xiaomi, among others.

Qualcomm’s earnings outlook for the current quarter, however, was below what some analysts were expecting. It said to expect per-share earnings, excluding items, of around 90 cents to $1, on revenue of between $5.2 billion and $6 billion. Analysts were looking for per-share earnings of $1.02 on revenue of $5.56 billion, according to Thomson.

The company also indicated that it was planning for the fact that rival Intel might get some of the modem business for upcoming iPhone models. However, it said that shouldn’t keep the company from meeting its goals.

“We do feel very confident in our position in the modem segment,” Mollenkopf said on a conference call with analysts. Qualcomm already makes less from each iPhone sold as compared to other high-end phones, given that Apple uses its own main processor rather than a Snapdragon, relegating Qualcomm to supplying only the modem function.

Shares of Qualcomm which initially inched lower in after-hours trading, have started moving higher, changing hands recently at $52.70, up 61 cents, or roughly 1 percent.

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