Wolfson swings to $10m loss

Steve Dinneen
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WOLFSON yesterday swung to a $10m (£6.3m) third-quarter loss and said weak demand meant it would not return to profitability until well into next year.

The firm, whose audio chips are in Samsung handsets, also slashed its revenue forecast for the final quarter to $35-$40m, down from $46.1m.

Chief executive Mike Hickey said order intake has stabilised after a sharp slowdown in the summer but at lower levels than expected, reflecting muted consumer demand for electronic products apart from smartphones. He added that the group’s standalone audio chips, which deliver better quality sound than that provided by a central processor, should help drive a recovery in 2012.

Investors, however, are losing patience, with the Edinburgh-based company’s shares, which have lost 60 per cent of their value since the start of the year, falling 3.75 per cent.

A host of chipmakers, including Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics , have said the key Christmas period will disappoint this year. Wolfson took a $3.5m hit on some of its discrete and power management chips as customers scrapped products due to lack of demand. It also faced a separate $3.5m restructuring charge.