You know all the basics about Cirrus Logic's (Nasdaq: CRUS) fourth quarter:

  • Revenue jumped 46% year-over-year to $91.4 million.
  • Non-GAAP earnings stopped at $0.22 per diluted share, up from $0.16 per share a year ago.
  • The midpoint of Cirrus' first-quarter guidance points to revenue of about $91 million, a weaker gross margin than the fourth quarter's, and slightly higher operating expenses.

All of this, except the forward guidance, has been known since Cirrus pre-announced its results a couple of weeks ago. So what else is new and material in the full report and earnings call?

  • The disaster in Japan had no measurable effect on this quarter but is a major driver behind the meek first-quarter guidance. Cirrus ships audio chips and power management solutions to several car builders, which are reducing their build volumes for a while. Woes from the disaster don't just affect Japanese companies like Nissan, Toyota (NYSE: TM), and Honda (NYSE: HMC) either; as CEO Jason Rhode puts it, "Everybody in that space has got suppliers all over the world, and all it takes is a windshield wiper blade you can't finish out."
  • Two or three years from now, Cirrus hopes to augment its audio-chip success with power controllers for the burgeoning LED lighting market. The first chips for this market just got back from the lab and will start producing modest revenues next year; by 2014 or so, there should be plenty of business up for grabs.
  • A shaky balance sheet often begets bad results down the road. With more than $200 million of debt-free cash equivalents on hand, that's hardly an issue for Cirrus. Rising inventories and accounts receivable can be another warning flag: Inventories rose less than 1% from the third quarter, and receivables jumped 5%. That's something to keep an eye on, as these line items grew while sales dipped in a typical after-holiday seasonal pattern.

So there you have it: one explanation for a soft outlook, one exciting business opportunity, and one potential trouble spot that you might have missed on first blush. More information is always better information, and we've made it easy to hook yourself up with a direct feed of Foolish news about any ticker you choose with our new free My Watchlist service that tracks your favorite companies. Make sure to add Cirrus Logic to My Watchlist right now by clicking here.