Lam Research Corp., a maker of equipment used to build circuits on semiconductors, had a fiscal fourth-quarter profit, although sales declined, because of drastic cost cutting, the company said Thursday.
Net income in the quarter ended June 30 was $11.3 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with a loss from operations of $1.9 million, or 5 cents, a year earlier. Sales fell 8.5% to $210.9 million.
Lam fired half its work force last year as the company struggled to achieve more efficient production while industrywide orders for chip-making equipment plunged. Those cuts are paying off now as Lam returned to profitability on lower sales.
"You're seeing the operating leverage starting to kick in now, and they've got very tight expense controls in place," said Elliott Rogers, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston Corp.
Analysts polled by First Call Corp. were looking for profit of 12 cents. Rogers said he expected sales of $198 million.
Selling, general and administrative expenses, which include salaries, fell 31%. The Fremont, Calif.-based company now has 2,700 workers, compared with 5,500 in January 1998. Research and development costs also fell, dropping 23%.
Lam is recovering the sales it lost over the last year as chip makers pared spending on equipment. It said it is gaining market share with its main products--tools used to etch the circuit lines that become wires in a chip.
First-quarter sales are expected to be about $240 million and earnings about 50 cents a share, Chief Executive Jim Bagley said on a conference call with investors and financial analysts. The average estimate from a First Call survey of analysts projects a profit of 25 cents. In the year-ago first quarter, the company lost $26.8 million, or 70 cents, on sales of $142.2 million.
In the year-ago fourth quarter, a charge of $64 million, or $1.67 a share, led to a loss of $65.9 million, or $1.72 a share.
Lam shares fell $1.88 to close at $46.38 on Nasdaq.. Its earnings were released after the close of U.S. stock markets.
At a Glance
Other earnings, excluding one-time gains and charges unless noted:
* Santa Barbara-based apparel maker and retailer Big Dog Holdings Inc. reported higher second-quarter net income of $734,000, or 6 cents per share, compared with $327,000, or 3 cents, a year ago. Sales rose to $24.1 million from $22.4 million.
The company, which makes clothing under the Big Dog label, also said it signed an agreement with Hartbreak Films Inc. to develop a television series for its Big Dog character logo.
* Callaway Golf Co., the Carlsbad-based maker of Big Bertha and other clubs, reported a 17% increase in second-quarter net income of $24.8 million, or 35 cents per share, compared with net income of $21.1 million, or 30 cents, a year ago. Sales fell 2% to $229.7 million from $233.2 million. The company also warned of lower sales and earnings in the second half of the year because of costs associated with its first-time production of golf balls.
* Santa Monica-based FirstFed Financial Corp., parent company of First Federal Bank of California, reported second-quarter net income of $9.1 million, or 47 cents per share, compared with $8.6 million, or 40 cents, a year ago.
* IHOP Corp., the Glendale-based franchiser and operator of International House of Pancakes restaurants, reported record second-quarter net income of $7.8 million, or 39 cents per share, compared with $6.4 million, or 32 cents, a year ago. Systemwide sales rose 11.2% to $278 million.
* Corte Madera, Calif.-based restaurant operator Il Fornaio Corp., citing charges related to the opening of a new restaurant in the Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, said second-quarter net income fell to $980,000, or 16 cents per share, from $1.1 million, or 17 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose to $23.7 million from $20.5 million.
* Merisel, an El Segundo-based computer products distributor, reported a second-quarter net loss of $12 million, or 15 cents per share, compared with net income of $5.1 million, or 6 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose to $1.3 billion from $1.1 billion.
* Robert Mondavi Corp., the Oakville, Calif.-based winery, reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $8.8 million, or 55 cents a share, compared with $5.1 million, or 32 cents, a year ago. Revenue increased 16% to $105.2 million.
* San Diego-based utility Sempra Energy reported second-quarter net income of $95 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with $106 million, or 45 cents, a year ago. Sales rose to $1.5 billion from $1.2 billion.
* Los Angeles-based Sports Club Co. reported second-quarter net income of $299,000, or 2 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $462,000, or 2 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose to $22.2 million from $20.3 million.
MORE EARNINGS: C3, C5