The company's eighth consecutive quarter of revenue growth was driven by improved demand for use in portable products, including cell phones and notebook computers. Sequentially, both sales and profits grew 5% from the fourth quarter. Linear said that strength in international markets should help spur similar growth in the second quarter as well.
Most notably, gross margins improved from an already impressive 74% to an even more impressive 76%. As a result, net margins gained a couple percentage points to an astonishing 40%.
With relatively modest capital expenditures and more-than-healthy margins, Linear has shown superior returns on capital compared to Maxim
Today, Linear's strengths are reflected in its strong cash flows, declining share count, a nominal dividend, and debt-free balance sheet. Unfortunately, investors have to pay up for their share -- over 40 times this year's earnings.
Jeff Hwang can be reached at JHwang@fool.com.