Shawshank, VA 5/11/12 (StreetBeat) -- Shares of chip maker Nvidia (Nasdaq: NVDA) are up $1.23 cents, or almost 10%, at $13.65 in early trading after the company this morning reported fiscal Q1 revenue and profit per share that topped analysts’ expectations and forecast the current quarter higher as well.
Revenue in the three months ended in April fell to $924.9 million, yielding EPS of 16 cents, excluding some costs.
Analysts had been modeling $916 million and 15 cents, according to FactSet.
Gross margin fell quarter over quarter to 50.4% from 52.5% in Q4.
For the current quarter, the company forecast $990 million to $1.05 billion in revenue, better than the $976 million analysts’ have been modeling. Gross margin is expected to rise to 51.5%.
CEO Jen-Hsun Huang remarked that the company’s business in mobile phones and tablets, its “Tegra” processor line, was “on a growth track again,” and that its “Kepler” graphics processors were “accelerating our business.”
A further dissection of the results is available in the commentary produced by CFO Karen Burns.
Nvidia’s “consumer graphics” revenue was down almost 7%, quarter over quarter, as the company said demand for the Kepler processors outstripped supply, and that revenue in notebook computer graphic, while still a record, was contained by limits in the supply of chips with 28-nanometer features at Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE: TSM), Nvidia’s manufacturing supplier.
So-called professional solutions revenue was down 4.2% from Q4′s level, which the company said was typical seasonality. Revenue from the consumer products business rose almost 21%, quarter to quarter, largely because of sales of Tegra, which appeared in new smartphonessuch as HTC‘s (2498TW) “OneX.”
Nvidia’s conference call is currently ongoing, having begun at 8 am this morning.
Update: During a phone call following the company’s conference call, Huang was kind enough to take a couple questions. Sounding upbeat and enthusiastic, Huang opened with the quip “got any 28-nanometer wafers?”
Despite the constraint on supply of those chips at TSM, Huang said the manufacturer is “knocking it out of the park,” in his view, shipping many more 28-nanometer parts than it shipped at the comparable period in the evolution of TSM’s 40-nanometer node.
For Tegra, Nvidia’s using TSM’s 40-nanometer node, specially tweaked in a form called “LPG.” That process is not supply constrained. Huang said he expects Nvidia will move to using a 28-nanometer process for Tegra later this year, when supply will likely be less constrained.
As for the year outlook, Nvidia did not provide an update on the call. You’ll recall that in September of last year, Huang told the Street the company could increase revenue to a range of $4.7 billion to $5 billion in 2013. In Q4, however, the company said it no longer stood by that view, owning in part to the massive disruption of the PC supply chain as a result of the damage to disk-drive production in Thailand.
I asked Huang when he would return to providing a year outlook. His first answer was “when it’s useful to do so.” His second answer was, “Well, we’re supply-constrained. I mean, go ask TSM!” Bottom line, no year forecast at this point.
I also asked Huang about the company’s plans for integrated baseband processors using the “long-term evolution,” or LTE, standard for phones and tablets. Huang mentioned on the call that Tegra will ship with integrated baseband capabilities next year.
When I asked Huang how he saw that LTE battle shaping up, and how the company will be competitive with basebands from, for example, Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM), he remarked, “Nobody in the world has Tegra and so long as we think we can add value in building processors, and we have the imagination to do something really cool, out integrated processor will be the only Tegra with integrated baseband.”
Nvidia shares are now up 93 cents, or over 7%, at $13.34.
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