British chipmakers remain upbeat as demand surges

Steve Dinneen
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BRITISH chipmakers CSR and Wolfson Microelectronics yesterday reported positive first-quarter sales as demand for mobile phones and consumer electronics began to bounce back.

Wolfson reported a 13 per cent rise in revenue to $28.5m (£18.9m) and said 90 customers would use its new chips into their products, including one top smartphone maker using Wolfson’s latest audio product, which it said would add to revenues next year.

However, its operating loss widened to $4.9m as it spent more on research and development and helping customers with new products.

CSR, which dominates the Bluetooth market and is diversifying into GPS navigation and Wi-Fi chips, said revenue more than doubled and underlying earnings returned to profit.

The Cambridge-based CSR, which counts Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion among its customers, said it had won its first major Wi-Fi customer and added a big GPS client.

CSR forecast an increase in revenue this quarter to between $210m and $225m from $173m in the first quarter.

Both firms benefited from shipments of smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone, which surged 50 per cent in the first quarter to 54m handsets, or 18 per cent of all phones shipped. This year smartphone sales are expected to rise 35 per cent.