Demand for TriQuint's radio chips was so high in the fourth quarter that the company had to ask a few customers to remove them from recent designs. TriQuint lost its chip slots in the Verizon
With demand outstripping TriQuint's ability to make the darn things, it should be no surprise to see the company's sales outstripping analyst projections -- $253 million of revenue landed at the top end of the company's own guidance and beat the Street by about $1.7 million.
But strong sales didn't translate into strong profits. TriQuint says it wants operating expenses below 25% of revenue, but a higher skew of mobile sales and the lower margins they contain caused weaker than expected earnings. Non-GAAP earnings more than doubled year over year to $0.25 per share, but analysts were hoping for $0.28 per share. These are golden days for the optical and wireless networking industries, after all, and in addition to mobile TriQuint ships chips into both of them.
Rather than relying on third-party chip foundries, TriQuint runs its own manufacturing facilities and has nobody to blame for capacity constraints but itself. Naturally, the company is spending heavily on factory upgrades -- $42.7 million in the fourth quarter was the highest single-quarter CapEx in nearly a decade.
If TriQuint can keep customer interest at this all-time high, those revamped production lines should remain pleasantly packed for a long time to come. The demand for the end products driving TriQuint's production squeeze, which are mainly smartphones and tablet computers, won't subside for years.
Fellow Fool Eric Bleeker put real money into this stock earlier this week. If nothing else, TriQuint surely belongs on your watchlist.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has written puts on Apple. The Fool owns shares of Apple and TriQuint Semiconductor.
Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.