Last night, NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) reported its third-quarter earnings results. The company delivered revenue of $1.515 million and non-generally accepted accounting principles diluted earnings per share of $1.35. This compared favorably to analyst consensus of $1.49 billion and $1.28 per share, respectively.
The company also issued a robust forward guidance, calling for $1.47 billion in revenue and $1.31 in non-GAAP earnings per share at the midpoint of its guidance range. This, too, compares favorably to analyst consensus of $1.43 billion and $1.18 per share, respectively.
These results are particularly encouraging given the fact that NXP's shares were among the hardest hit by the recent negative pre-announcement from Microchip.
First things first: Fourth-quarter guidance
According to a statement from NXP CEO Richard Clemmer in the company's earnings release, the company's strong outlook (which he noted was largely better than seasonal) is driven by "company specific product cycles" countering a "slightly less optimistic overall semiconductor market."
An example of that would seem to be NXP's increased presence in the Apple iPhone and iPad products. Not only does NXP benefit from strong sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (which contain the NXP-designed M8 co-processor and NFC chips), but sales of older iPhones (containing the NXP-designed M7) also help.
Additionally, the recent iFixit teardown of the iPad Air 2 revealed the presence of an NXP near field communication chip, as well as a chip included as part of the Touch ID sensor cable.
Given the diversity of NXP's business, it's unlikely the Apple business is the only thing driving the solid guidance, but it probably helped.
Third-quarter performance looks good, too
NXP's third-quarter results looked strong across the board. Its high performance mixed signal segment saw 24% year-over-year revenue growth. Not surprisingly, the company's portable and computing revenue grew 67% year over year "as strategic mobile designs continue to gain traction in successful new models," according to the earnings release.
NXP's identification segment posted 20% year-over-year revenue growth. Management attributed this strength to "mobile transaction designs within the smartphone market," as well as "on-going demand for banking solutions."
The company also reported better than expected revenue growth of 18% year over year in its Industrial and Infrastructure segment, which it attributed to "continued strength in the wireless basestation market," in addition to a robust market for the company's "smart mobile audio solutions."
Lastly, NXP's standard products segment delivered 14% year-over-year growth and automotive revenue grew 10%.
Free cash flow and buybacks
NXP reported generating $316 million in free cash flow. Furthermore, It looks like NXP is being aggressive with its share buybacks, as it spent $574 million -- well above free cash flow -- to repurchase 8.7 million shares during the quarter. NXP apparently paid an average of $65.98 per share.
Foolish bottom line
NXP's business seems to remain very solid. Revenue from each of the company's operating segments grew by over 10% year over year during the quarter, and the business appears to be generating very healthy free cash flow. Add a fairly aggressive capital return program, and it looks as though NXP is doing right by its long-term shareholders.