Wolfson back in the black

Wolfson Microelectronics was back in profit in the third quarter helped by a contract with a 'new leading consumer electronics customer' widely believed to be Apple.

Wolfson Microelectronics was back in profit in the third quarter helped by a contract with a 'new leading consumer electronics customer' widely believed to be Apple.

Revenues increased 32% on the previous quarter and 31% year-on-year to $53m.

Underlying operating profit improved to $3.4m, from a $1.3m loss in the second quarter and a $0.7m loss the year before.

However margins slipped to 47.5%, from 49.7% in the same quarter of 2011.

The company said the reasons for the drop included the impact of product mix and a high volume product reaching volume price breaks quicker than anticipated.

Wolfson's numbers were boosted by sales into mobile phones growing by 71% and tablet computers by 88% year-on-year.

But this growth was moderated by reduced sales in gaming and home entertainment.

The company remained coy about a widely reported new relationship with Apple.

The statement noted it had bagged "a new leading consumer electronics customer in a smartphone accessory".

Technology experts say this refers to a Wolfson audio chip in a new adapter for the iPhone 5 - a welcome development for the firm, which was dropped by Apple several years ago.

Chief Executive Mike Hikey said his firm's growth was being driven by the increasing adoption of Wolfson's Audio Hubs and MEMS microphone products by brand-leading mobile phone and tablet computer manufacturers.

"We expect this trend to continue into the fourth quarter, with incremental revenue from product adoptions supporting growth in full-year revenue and profit despite persistent macro-economic headwinds," he said.

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