Advanced process control metrology specialist Nanometrics (NASDAQ: NANO ) reported third-quarter results yesterday after the markets closed, showing that it posted net revenues of $39.0 million, down 11% from the $43.9 million in the same period in the previous year, but ahead of the $38.6 million Capital IQ consensus estimate.
Suggesting a possible turnaround, revenues were 13% higher than in the Q2 2013 quarter, and adjusted net losses, which exclude the impact of an inventory write-off for its discontinued Mosaic product line, came in at $1.3 million, or $0.06 per share. This was markedly better than the $4 million, or $0.17 per-share, loss in the same period in 2012, and $0.02 better than the CapIQ estimated losses of $0.08 per share.
Nanometrics benefited from increased spending by some of its largest customers, a roster that includes Samsung, Intel, and Applied Materials. The metrology and inspection systems specialist was able to achieve several new competitive wins, increase its penetration of the foundry segment, and receive several significant orders that will filter through its shipments over the next few quarters.
As a result, it expects total fourth-quarter revenues to be in the range of $42 to $47 million, and while product gross margin is expected to improve on increased sales volume, total gross margin is expected to decline sequentially due to lower service and upgrade revenues. Reported gross margins are forecast to be between 45% to 47% on a non-GAAP basis, in the range of 46% to 48%.
Giving itself plenty of wiggle room, therefore, Nanometrics expects fourth-quarter non-GAAP earnings to range anywhere from a loss of $0.08 per share, to profits of $0.03 per share. Last year, it recorded an adjusted $0.13 per-share loss, so it would be an improvement, though analysts are pretty much in the middle expecting a $0.02 per-share loss.