Wolfson Chief Sees Profitable Year on ‘Strong’ Demand

Wolfson Microelectronics Plc, a U.K. semiconductor maker for consumer electronics products, expects to be profitable this year for the first time since 2008 if sales keep rising, Chief Executive Officer Mike Hickey said.

“Last year was a very strong year for consumer electronics,” Hickey said in a telephone interview. “That looks like it is continuing. If things execute as we envisage we will reap the benefits.”

Sales are set to rise 33 percent this year to $209 million, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Net income will be $9.3 million, analysts estimate.

Wolfson, which was spun out of Edinburgh University in 1984, sells audio-related chips to manufacturers including Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s second-largest maker of mobile phones, and LG Electronics Inc., the world’s third-largest maker of mobile phones.

The company reported today a profit of $620,000, or 0.53 cents a share, for the fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 2, compared with a loss of $3.8 million, or 3.3 cents a year earlier. Revenue surged 67 percent to $45.8 million.

The full-year loss narrowed to $6.6 million, or 5.71 cents, from $10.2 million, or 8.88 cents, a year earlier.

The shares fell 12 pence, or 4.2 percent, to 272 pence at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, the lowest in two months.

“The shares are richly priced and more than discount the recovery story,” Panmure Gordon & Co. analyst Mark Davis, who rates the shares “hold,” said in a note to clients today.

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