By Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Texas Instruments Inc <TXN.O> reported higher fourth-quarter results on Monday and gave a revenue outlook for the current quarter in line with expectations, helped by growing demand for chips from the auto industry.
The company posted fourth-quarter revenue of $3.27 billion, up 8 percent from the year-ago period and slightly above Wall Street forecasts as it deepened its focus on analog and embedded chips.
The company benefited last year from growing demand from automakers, telecom companies and industrial customers.
"We've seen increasing penetration of electronics into automobiles worldwide. That's a theme you're going to hear from us and others for several years to come,” Texas Instruments Chief Financial Officer Kevin March told Reuters in a phone interview.
While TI is better known to many consumers for its calculators, the Dallas-based company is regarded as a barometer of the chip industry because it makes components for a variety of markets, including industrial, automotive, consumer electronics and communications.
Revenue from Texas Instruments' largest market, "industrial," grew a bit in 2014, while revenue from its communications market expanded as wireless carriers installed next-generation base stations, March said.
TI has been winding down its unprofitable wireless business and refocusing on analog and embedded chips. Factories that Texas Instruments bought at relatively attractive prices in recent years and the chipmaker's robust sales force give it an advantage over smaller competitors.
Along with steady stock buybacks and dividends, that strategy has pushed shares of Texas Instruments 29 percent higher over the past year, compared with a 15 percent increase in the S&P 500 Index <.SPX>.
The company's fourth-quarter net income rose 61 percent to $825 million. Earnings per share were 76 cents, the company said in a statement.
Subtracting 7 cents in one-time benefits, the fourth-quarter's EPS was in line with analysts' expectations of 69 cents.
Texas Instruments forecast first-quarter revenue of between $3.07 billion and $3.33 billion. The midpoint of TI's revenue guidance is about $3.20 billion.
Analysts on average had expected revenue of $3.26 billion for the fourth quarter and $3.19 billion for the first quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The chipmaker said its first-quarter earnings per share would range from 57 cents to 67 cents.
Shares of TI were down 0.53 percent in extended trade after closing down 0.02 percent at $55.05 on the Nasdaq on Monday.
(Editing by Matthew Lewis)