February 13, 2008 / 10:43 PM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 2-Nvidia profit rises on brisk graphics chip sales

(Adds forecast for current quarter, updates stock price)

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) forecast a “better-than-seasonal” current quarter after fourth-quarter profit surged on sales of graphics chips including its GeForce processors, sending its shares up 4 percent.

Fourth-quarter net income rose 57 percent to $257.0 million, or 42 cents per share, from $163.5 million, or 27 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 37 percent to $1.20 billion.

Excluding stock-based compensation and other items, Nvidia said on Wednesday it had a profit of $292.6 million, or 49 cents per share.

Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang said the company saw strong demand for its graphics processing units in all market segments. Its discrete graphics business, which makes chips used separately to enhance display of graphics, increased sales by 80 percent.

Chief Financial Officer Marvin Burkett said on a conference call he expected a “better-than-seasonal” current quarter, and that it would decline slightly from the prior period.

Analysts currently expect first-quarter revenue of $1.11 billion, according to Reuters Estimates. In the just-reported fourth-quarter, the company had revenue of $1.20 billion.

Huang said the ever-increasing use of rich graphics in applications from Google Earth to Apple iTunes has been spurring demand.

Shares of Nvidia rose 4.2 percent to $28.15 in after-hours trade, after closing up $1.02, or 3.9 percent, at $27.02. In the past 12 months, the stock is up about 17 percent, outperforming the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index .SOXX, which is down about 23 percent in the same time period. (Reporting by Duncan Martell; Editing by Braden Reddall)

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