* Q4 adjusted EPS $0.52 vs $0.48 forecast
* Q4 revenue up 34 pct to record $340 mln
* Sees Q1 revenue of $330 mln
* CEO says pursuing multiple M&A opportunities in China
(Adds details, CEO comments)
By Steven Scheer
JERUSALEM, Feb 13 Israeli chipmaker TowerJazz
projected further growth in revenue and profit in 2017
after posting a record fourth quarter and 2016 as a whole,
boosted by robust demand from existing and new customers.
TowerJazz, which makes chips for smartphones, battery
chargers, AC/DC adapters and image sensors, said it earned 52
cents per fully diluted share, excluding one-off items, in the
fourth quarter, up from 27 cents a share a year earlier.
Revenue grew 34 percent to a quarterly record of $340
The company was forecast to earn 48 cents a share ex-items
on revenue of $339.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters
It projected first-quarter 2017 revenue of $330 million,
plus or minus 5 percent, for a 19 percent annual gain. Analysts
expect first-quarter revenue of $329.8 million and $1.4 billion
for all of 2017.
Chief Executive Russell Ellwanger said the company wasn't
providing a specific outlook for 2017 after setting a number of
financial records last year.
"We see growth throughout the year," Ellwanger told Reuters,
predicting each quarter of 2017 should beat what had been
achieved the year before. "I don't see anything that prevents us
from doing that."
TowerJazz posted record revenue of $1.25 billion in
2016 for a 30 percent annual gain. It also earned a record $204
million, versus a net loss of $30 million in 2015.
Much of the company's growth is coming from existing
customers in its radio frequency technology, image sensor and
power management segments, but the number of new clients and
partners are expanding and would benefit TowerJazz in future.
TowerJazz, founded in 1993 as Tower Semiconductor, operates
two plants in Israel, one in California and three in Japan
through its joint venture with Panasonic.
The company, which has just been added to a revamped
blue-chip index in Tel Aviv, lost money for years
following heavy investments in its second chip plant in Israel,
but has become profitable in the past two years.
TowerJazz bought a wafer manufacturing plant in San Antonio,
Texas, in February to boost capacity and provide potential
revenue of up to $200 million annually in the next few years.
Ellwanger said the company has capacity for 1.6 billion
wafers a year but would need more operational capacity towards
the end of 2018 and into 2019.
He reiterated the firm was pursuing multiple opportunities
in China, where TowerJazz would buy a factory with a minimal
investment and where it would be accretive to earnings right
TowerJazz shares were 1.2 percent higher at midday in Tel
(Editing by Tova Cohen and David Holmes)