What happened

Shares of microchip maker NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) closed Thursday's trading session 12.1% higher. In the process of getting over the failed merger with larger rival Qualcomm, this leader in automotive-computing solutions stunned the Street with a great third-quarter report.

So what

NXP's third-quarter sales rose 2.4% year over year, to land at $2.45 billion. Analysts had been looking for a slightly milder $2.42 billion result. On the bottom line, GAAP earnings per share surged from $1.69 to $5.60, with the caveat that these figures might not be comparable to the year-ago period or to analyst expectations. Indeed, your average analyst would have settled for $1.90 per share.

A piece of plier-like equipment installing a small microchip on a circuit board.

Image source: Getty Images.

The company did not publish an adjusted earnings figure, but if you work out the tax effects of this quarter's massive one-time gain -- a $2 billion deal termination fee from Qualcomm -- and apply that to NXP's adjusted operating profits, you'll end up with an adjusted earnings figure somewhere near $2.25 per share.

If that looks like too much financial hand waving for your taste, NXP set the midpoint of its adjusted operating income guidance at $171 million. The actual result on that line -- which backs out unusual items like the Qualcomm payment -- was $733 million.

Now what

Without the Qualcomm fee, NXP breezed by analyst expectations and its own guidance. The presence of a cool $2 billion -- minus $330 million of taxes on that windfall -- on top of an already strong report only underscores my high hopes for NXP's long-term prospects. This ticker is going places, and the stock's big jump should come as no surprise.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.