What do you call a spreadsheet with lots of negative numbers? Qualcomm_FY2015.xlsx

Chip designer hopes for better days as China drama lingers

Mobile chip blueprint scribbler Qualcomm reported big losses to close out its 2015 fiscal year, though the hits were less severe than the California company initially feared.

Qualie said it hopes to turn around its fortunes in the coming fiscal year, as it banks on continuing adoption of 3G/4G networks globally and a resolution to financial problems in China.

Here are its GAAP stats and facts for the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2015, which ended September 27:

  • Revenues of $5.5bn from the quarter were down 19 per cent on the same period last year, when Qualcomm logged $6.7bn.
  • Net income was $1.1bn, down 44 per cent from $1.9bn on the year-ago quarter.
  • Earnings per share were $0.67, down from $1.11 in Q4 of 2014.
  • Shipments of mobile semiconductors – including the Snapdragon family – were down 14 per cent year-on-year to 203 million units.
  • Qualcomm-licensed 3G/4G technology was used in somewhere between 276 and 280 million devices during in the quarter, up eight per cent on the year-ago period. The average selling price of $207-$213 per unit was down six per cent from last year.

While sales and profit are shrinking year-over-year, Qualcomm said the figures were not unexpected, and were actually at the "high end" of the company's own predictions. The full-year numbers for its fiscal 2015 are:

  • Revenues of $25.3bn, down five per cent from last year's $26.5bn haul.
  • Net income at $7.6bn, a 15 per cent dip from $9bn in 2014.
  • Mobile semiconductors shipments for the full year stood at 932 million, up eight per cent from 861 million last year.
  • It's estimated Qualcomm's customers shipped somewhere between 1.23bn and 1.25bn 3G/4G licensed devices over the year, a 14 per cent growth from 1.07bn to 1.09bn units last year.
  • Expenses included a $975m charge from the February settlement between Qualcomm and Chinese antitrust authorities.

Among the issues Qualcomm cites are outstanding royalties payments from manufacturers in China. The chip biz said that since it struck the settlement deal with the Chinese government's NDRC regulator, it has been fighting to recover payments from hardware vendors and licensees in China who were under-reporting the number of devices they sold and, in the process, short-changing Qualcomm on royalty payments.

The US giant said that it expects business to pick up in 2016, particularly in the second half of the year as more OEMs ship devices with the Snapdragon 820 chip and the outstanding payments from China are collected.

Qualcomm also said it expects to see dividends from its recent acquisition of CSR, as the British firm boosts Qualcomm's reach in areas such as automotive tech. ®

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