Qualcomm (QCOM) earnings report Q1 2024

Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon responds to a question during a keynote conversation at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 10, 2024.

Steve Marcus | Reuters

Qualcomm reported fiscal first-quarter results on Wednesday that topped analysts’ estimates as sales of handset chips jumped 16% from a year earlier. Qualcomm shares fell more than 1% in extended trading.

Here’s how the chipmaker did for the quarter ending Dec. 24, per consensus expectations from LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $2.75 adjusted vs. $2.37 expected
  • Revenue: $9.92 billion adjusted vs. $9.51 billion expected

For the current quarter, Qualcomm said it expects adjusted earnings of between $1.73 and $1.93 per share on revenue of $8.9 billion to $9.7 billion. Consensus expectations, according to LSEG, were for earnings of $2.25 per share on $9.3 billion of revenue.

Net income rose 24% during the quarter to $2.77 billion, or $2.48 per share, from $2.24 billion, or $1.98 per share, a year ago.

Qualcomm is best known for making smartphone chips — both the modems that connect them to cellular networks, as well as the processors at the heart of high-end Android devices.

Under CEO Cristiano Amon, Qualcomm has been working to apply its chip technology to markets beyond smartphones, including PCs, cars and virtual reality headsets. But it’s still a major smartphone supplier as the global market has slumped over the past two years.

Qualcomm said it shipped $6.69 billion in handset chips during the December quarter, up 16% year over year, a positive sign for the smartphone market after two years of declines. Qualcomm said it expected global handset sales would be flat year over year.

“We see the Android market stabilizing after we’ve been through 2023,” Amon said. “That was a year of correction.”

Notably, Samsung’s high-end Galaxy phones launched in January use Qualcomm processors, and the company expects that business to continue for several years under a new deal, foreclosing the possibility that the second-largest smartphone maker would eschew Qualcomm for its own chips.

Qualcomm’s Internet of Things business includes the chips Meta uses in its virtual reality headsets. That segment saw sales slide 32% to $1.13 billion.

Qualcomm is betting heavily on selling chips to automakers and car suppliers, but it’s a process that will take years as car parts have a long “qualification” cycle due to regulations and the needs of the industry. Qualcomm’s nascent automotive business, part of QCT, reported $589 million in sales, up 31% on an annual basis.

QCT, the company’s chip sales business that includes automotive, Internet of Things and handsets, totaled $8.42 billion in revenue during the quarter, up 7% on an annual basis.

The company’s profitable licensing business, QTL, reported $1.46 billion in revenue, a 4% annual decline. Amon told analysts on a call that Apple had agreed to extend its patent licensing agreement through March 2027.

Qualcomm said it spent $800 million in share repurchases and $900 million on dividends during the quarter.

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