updated 7/19/2005 7:36:35 PM ET 2005-07-19T23:36:35

Motorola Inc., the world’s No. 2 maker of mobile phones, bettered Wall Street’s expectations Tuesday by reporting second-quarter profit of $933 million, reflecting continuing strong sales of its Razr and other new products.

It was the seventh consecutive solid quarterly performance by once-struggling Motorola, whose results early in the earnings reporting season are considered a bellwether for the tech sector.

The Schaumburg, Ill.-based company said it had picked up 1.7 percent in market share since the first quarter, racking up 18.1 percent of global cell-phone sales. Finland’s Nokia remains the runaway overall leader.

Part of Motorola’s share gains may have been the consequence of average lower selling prices, and Motorola’s stock dipped in after-hours trading.

Net earnings for the April-through-June quarter were $933 million, or 37 cents per share, compared with a loss of $203 million, or 8 cents per share, in the same period of 2004, which included a loss of $822 million, or 33 cents, from Freescale Semiconductor Inc.

Motorola has since spun off that business. Not counting the Freescale loss, Motorola earned $619 million in the 2004 period.


Results included 12 cents per share for special items, including an investment gain of 10 cents per share, a tax-adjustment gain, a loan repayment and restructuring charges. Excluding those items, operating earnings were 26 cents per share — a penny better than the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Revenue rose 1.5 percent to $8.83 billion from $8.7 billion — or 17 percent higher than the $7.54 billion excluding Freehold sales in 2004. That easily exceeded analysts’ estimate of $8.55 billion.

Leading the way was the cell-phone unit, which accounted for 55 percent of revenue and $498 million in operating earnings with record shipments, sales and profits. Motorola said it shipped 33.9 million handsets in the quarter, up 41 percent from a year earlier, boosted by 15 new devices.

Its guidance calls for earnings of 27 cents to 29 cents in the third quarter on sales of $8.9 billion to $9.1 billion. Both ranges are above analysts’ estimate of 25 cents on sales of $8.58 billion.

Motorola shares rose 39 cents, or 2 percent, to $19.85 on the New York Stock Exchange before the earnings report — their highest closing price since June 2004. They fell 77 cents, or 3.9 percent, in after-hours activity.

Morningstar analyst John Slack called it a great quarter for Motorola, but said lower average selling prices hurt the company’s standing with some investors.

“(CEO Ed) Zander’s mantra for the past year now has been profitable growth, profitable growth, profitable growth, and I think they’re delivering,” he said. “Yeah, ASPs are falling, but if you can take share profitably, you do.”

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