May 6, 2019 / 1:48 PM / a year ago

Israeli chip designer Ceva predicts non-phone upturn after profit dip

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israeli chip designer Ceva Inc missed expectations with a drop in quarterly profit on reduced handset royalty revenue but forecast improving returns from other market segments.

Ceva signed eight licensing agreements in the quarter, including three with companies targeting 5G networking and a strategic artificial intelligence licensing agreement with a major automotive manufacturer, the company said.

“Our royalty revenue from handsets suffered substantial headwinds due to excess channel inventory,” said CEO Gideon Wertheizer.

“Royalties from our non-handset customer base continued to expand, delivering 22 percent year-over-year growth.”

Licensing revenue rose 9 percent in the quarter to $11 million, while royalty revenue fell 20 percent to $7.5 million.

Ceva earned 1 cent per diluted share excluding one-off items in the first quarter, compared with 4 cents a year earlier. Revenue was down 3 percent at $17 million.

The company was forecast to earn 3 cents a share on revenue of $17.7 million, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

Ceva reiterated its full-year revenue forecast of $80 million, up from $78 million in 2018, including a 4 percent rise in royalties to $39 million. The company expects royalty revenue to double by 2022.

Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer and David Goodman

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