February 13, 2019 / 12:38 PM / a year ago

Israeli chip designer Ceva Q4 pofit, revenue slip

JERUSALEM, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Israeli chip designer Ceva Inc reported a drop in quarterly profit that missed estimates and a decrease in royalty revenue.

Ceva said on Wednesday it earned 23 cents per diluted share excluding one-time items in the fourth quarter, compared with 25 cents a year earlier. Revenue fell 1 percent to $21.4 million.

The company, a licensor of signal processing platforms and artificial intelligence processors, was forecast to earn 26 cents a share on revenue of $22.1 million, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

Ceva signed 13 licensing agreements in the quarter, including one with a company targeting the 5G mobile market that was one of the largest signed in Ceva’s history.

“Our fourth quarter royalties came in lower than expected, reflecting softness at a large smartphone OEM (original equipment manufacturer), primarily due to the slowing economy in China and lower overall demand for entry-level phones in emerging markets,” said CEO Gideon Wertheizer.

Licensing and related revenue was up 17 percent in the quarter to $10.5 million, while royalty revenue dropped 14 percent to $10.9 million.

The company said it bought back $3 million in stock in the fourth quarter, bringing the total stock repurchase for 2018 to $20 million. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch Editing by Steven Scheer)

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