nVidia Blows Past Revenue, Earnings Projections

nVidia had been one of the hardest-hit semiconductor firms when the economy went south last year, with sales plunging a harrowing 60 percent in one quarter.

Today, it’s recovered the fastest and has surpassed last year’s pre-collapse sales figures, something even Intel didn’t do in its excellent third quarter.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2010 ended Oct. 25, nVidia reported revenue of $903.2 million, up 16 percent from the previous quarter and up less than 1 percent from the $897.7 million reported in the same period a year earlier.

Third-quarter GAAP income was $107.6 million, with earnings per share (EPS) at $0.19, compared with net income of $61.7 million, or $0.11 per diluted share a year ago.

The numbers easily top analyst projections for the graphics chip maker. A survey of analysts by Thomson Financial had put nVidia’s (NASDAQ: NVDA) third-quarter revenues at $835.1 million and EPS at $0.10.

“We continued to make progress in the third quarter with healthy market demand across the board,” nVidia CEO and President Jen-Hsun Huang said in a statement. “Revenue was up from a year ago, with improvement in each of our PC, professional solutions and consumer businesses. It’s great to see us shipping orders with our Tegra mobile-computing solution, and growing enthusiasm for our Tesla platform for parallel computing in the server and cloud-computing markets.”

Gross margin on a GAAP basis was 43.4 percent, a major improvement from the 20.2 percent in second fiscal quarter of 2009 and 41.0 percent from the same quarter last year. On a non-GAAP basis, gross margin was 41.0 percent, up 4.7 points from the 36.3 percent reported in the previous quarter but slightly off from 41.9 percent a year earlier.

The company expects the fourth quarter to taper off, with revenue up only two percent sequentially from Q3. GAAP gross margin is expected to be in the range of 40 to 42 percent.

nVidia will host a conference call with analysts on Thursday afternoon to review the figures and discuss Q4 and beyond.

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