updated 4/18/2005 5:27:30 PM ET 2005-04-18T21:27:30

Semiconductor maker Texas Instruments Inc. said profit rose 12 percent in the first quarter despite a slowdown in the semiconductor market.

The company said Monday it earned $411 million, or 24 cents per share, compared with $367 million, or 21 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast 23 cents per share.

Revenue edged up to $2.97 billion in the January-March period from $2.94 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected a bit more — $2.99 billion.

Chief executive Richard K. Templeton said higher utilization of the company's plants and lower costs helped increase profits despite a decline in revenue from late 2004.

"The market environment is improving," Templeton said in a statement. He said that an inventory correction in standard semiconductor products that began last fall is over.

Texas Instruments makes components for cell phones, and the company said phone sales were likely to grow more slowly this year than last year.

Last month, the Dallas company lowered its forecast for first-quarter sales and earnings, citing lower-than-expected demand for its components used in high-end televisions and projectors. The company said then that it would earn 22 cents to 24 cents per share on sales of $2.91 billion to $3.03 billion.

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