UK Chip Firm ARM Rides Smartphone Wave
British smartphone chip designer ARM has reported a 20% rise in full-year pretax profit, with nearly every smartphone in the world now containing its technology.
ARM Ltd made an annual pretax profit of £276.5m.
It also reported fourth-quarter profit of £80m, on revenue of £164.2m, which was above forecasts of £75.6m on revenue of £152.2m.
The Cambridge-based group licences its technology to chip makers and receives a royalty on each chip shipped in devices, from tech giants such as Apple and Samsung.
Consumers around the world are increasingly using the Internet on mobile devices rather than on PCs that are powered by processors designed by older firms like Intel.
"Five years ago an ARM processor could be found in just over a quarter of devices that you could use to browse the internet," ARM finance director Tim Score said.
"Last year, in 2012, three-quarters of Internet-connected screens and devices used an ARM processor in the main chip."
Shares in the group rose to a 12-year high after it said it would at least meet analysts' expectations for revenue in 2013.
The newest smartphones and tablets typically contain multiple ARM-based processors and increasingly ARM graphics as well, helping royalties for the quarter rise 19% to $136.8 million, strongly outperforming the market.
The company recognises royalties a quarter in arrears, so the royalty income came on 2.5 billion chips shipped in the third quarter of the year.
Licensing revenue rose 28% to $158m, with 15 licences signed for ARM's latest Cortex-A processors designed for mobile computing, servers and enterprise computing.
ARM said it expected to continue to outperform the wider semi-conductor market in 2013.