Qualcomm Inc. Chief Executive Officer Paul Jacobs said that the largest seller of mobile-phone semiconductors can continue to grow earnings in double digits over the next five years.
Growth will be fueled by a surge in smartphone sales which will total about 5 billion units from 2012 through 2016, Jacobs said at a meeting with investors today at the company’s headquarters in San Diego, California.
Qualcomm gained a bigger market value than Intel Corp. for the first time last week after it forecast results that topped analysts’ estimates, adding to evidence that smartphones are gaining ground at the expense of computers. Under Jacobs, Qualcomm is gaining as consumers in developed nations snap up pricey new phones while those in emerging markets upgrade to devices that provide Web access.
Qualcomm gets the majority of its sales from chips and the majority of profit from licensing its ownership of technology fundamental to modern mobile phones and networks. Licensee fees deliver profit margins of more than 80 percent enabling the company to invest in new technology for its chips at a faster pace than rivals, said Jacobs.
“The licensing business helps us so that we are out ahead of the technology,” Jacobs said.
Like other makers of phone components, Qualcomm is redesigning products to work in tablets. Jacobs said the tablet market is on track to to expand 41 percent each year through 2016, when an estimated 650 million devices will be sold.
Qualcomm shares fell less than 1 percent to $61.28 at the close in New York. The stock has gained 12 percent this year.