Intel’s business hit by falling PC sales in 2012

Chip maker Intel has reported fourth quarter net income of $2.47bn, down 27% compared with the same period a year ago

Chip maker Intel has reported fourth quarter net income of $2.47bn, down 27% compared with the same period a year ago.

Revenues were down 3% to $13.5bn and earnings per share were down 25% to 48 cents for the last three months of 2012 when PC sales were hit by increased popularity of smartphones and tablets.

According to market analyst firm Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totalled 90.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 4.9% decline from the fourth quarter of 2011.

Intel's full-year revenue of $53.3bn was down just 1.2% compared with 2011, net income of $11bn was down 15% and earnings per share were down 11% at $2.13.

"The fourth quarter played out largely as expected as we continued to execute through a challenging environment," said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO.

"We made tremendous progress across the business in 2012 as we entered the market for smartphones and tablets, worked with our partners to reinvent the PC, and drove continued innovation and growth in the datacentre,” he said.

Otellini was upbeat about the year ahead. “As we enter 2013, our strong product pipeline has us well positioned to bring a new wave of Intel innovations across the spectrum of computing," he said.

Intel said in a statement that it expects revenues in the first three months of this year to be about $12.7bn, slightly below analysts' average forecasts of $12.9bn.

Intel shares fell 3% in after-hours trading on Wall Street after the results were published, but some analysts were broadly satisfied with the numbers, according to the BBC.

Kevin Cassidy, director at Stifel Nicolaus, said Intel appeared to be managing well through the downturn and he expects new PC models due to come to market later this year to boost Intel's business.

Doug Freeman, analyst at RBC Capital, said Intel’s results were not worse than feared. However, he said the $13bn Intel is spending on new facilities, research and development, and capacity could be a concern for those investors who feel that this is a huge investment in the light of the PC market’s decline.

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