Sales lift in second half of 2012 expected to reduce losses for the year to £5.9m (2011 £15.5m)
Wolfson Microelectronics has reported a strong end to the 2012 financial year with fourth quarter sales up 52 per cent year on year.
The Edinburgh-based chip maker, a world leader in audio components for consumer electronics, said revenues in the fourth quarter rose $56.1 million (£35.8 million) against $36.9 million (£23.6 million) the previous year.
However, gross margins – before exceptional charges – dropped from 49.9 per cent last year to 43.9 per cent.
The company said it expects to post a full-year operating loss of $9.3 million (£5.9 million) against a loss of $24.2 million (£15.5 million) the previous year.
Wolfson said its estimated revenue value for new design-ins set in 2012 have reached “record” levels, with the fourth quarter reported to be the company's best ever quarter for design-in value.
In a market update posted today, Wolfson said it had turned around an underlying operating loss of $2.9 million (£1.9 million) in the fourth quarter of 2011 to a profit of $1.5 million (£1 million)in the last three months of 2012.
Last October Wolfson reported its first profitable quarter since 2010 for the third quarter on strong sales of its mobile audio chips to phone and tablet computer manufacturers.
Revenues for the three months to September were up 32 per cent on the previous quarter and by 31 per cent year on year to $53 million (£32.9 million).
Wolfson noted in its third quarter update new customer products shipping with Wolfson devices inside included a “new leading consumer electronics customer in a smartphone accessory”.
This is believed to relate to a 2012 report a Wolfson digital to analogue chip was found in Apple's lightning connector for the iPhone 5.
Wolfson said it expects full-year revenues to be up 15 per cent on the previous year to $179.7 million (£114.7 million), with a slight dip in gross margins before exceptionals, from 48.8 per cent last year to 46.9 per cent.
The company said 2012 sales to mobile phones and tablet computer applications rose by 60 per cent year on year and it launched 21 new products, including the world’s first quad core HD Audio System-on-a-Chip (SoC) and the world’s first high performance integrated MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) microphone.
Wolfson expects to deliver further growth in the first quarter of 2013, “in the range of 40 per cent to 60 per cent - $42 million to $48 million (£26.8 million to £30.6 million) - dependent on timing of customers’ new product ramps”.
Chief executive Mike Hickey said: “By penetrating the most dynamic and fast-growing segments of the consumer electronics market, we have established strong revenue momentum, growing more than 50 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter and, as anticipated, returned to profit in the second half of the year.
“We are increasing our market presence in smartphones and tablet computers, and are now shipping to most of the world’s brand-leading mobile phone and tablet computer manufacturers.
“This, combined with our class-leading portfolio of audio products delivering another record year for new design-ins, positions the company well for further strong growth in 2013.”
Shares in Wolfson were down more than four per cent in early trading today.