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ARM Beats Estimates on Chip Demand for Smartphones, Tablets

ARM Holdings Plc, whose chip designs power Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPad, reported fourth-quarter sales that rose more than analysts predicted as demand for smartphones and tablets surged.

Revenue in the three months through December rose 19 percent to 164.2 million pounds ($258.4 million), the Cambridge, England-based company said today in a statement. Analysts had predicted 152.4 million pounds, according to the average of 18 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. ARM shares rose as much as 5.2 percent, the biggest intraday advance since Nov. 6.

ARM started last quarter with a record order backlog for its designs, the company said in October. ARM is benefiting from a surge in demand for chips that enable mobile computing, such as cloud-based storage, and technology for mobile phones and tablets that saves energy and enhances performance.

“Customers are developing products to meet the needs of the post PC era and are driving demand for ARM’s most advanced technology,” Chief Executive Officer Warren East said in the statement. “2013 brings exciting opportunities and challenges as ARM enters competitive new markets where we are well positioned to succeed.”

ARM shares were up 46 pence at 938 pence as of 8:13 London trading, bringing the advance to about 63 percent in 12 months and giving the company a market value of 12.9 billion pounds.

Revenue in the first quarter of 2013 is expected to be about $250 million as long as ARM’s royalty growth continues on “similar trends,” the company said.

The worldwide smartphone market grew 36 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, driven by growth in Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. devices, to 219.4 million units shipped, according to a report from Framingham, Massachusetts-based researcher IDC.

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