SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Fairchild Semiconductor International on Thursday reported a first-quarter loss of $17.6 million on a 4 percent increase in sales.

The commodity chip maker’s loss for the three months ended March 30 translates to 15 cents per share. That compares to net income of $2.7 million, or 3 cents per diluted share, in the same period last year.

The performance for the latest quarter reflects $12.6 million in charges associated with the previously announced closure of Fairchild’s 6-inch wafer fabrication plant in Mountaintop, Pa., and other charges linked to the restructuring of its Integrated Circuits Group.

On a pro forma basis, which excludes unusual items, Fairchild posted net income of $4.5 million, or 4 cents per diluted share, compared to a pro forma net loss of $1.1 million, or 1 cent per share, in the first quarter of 2002.

The pro forma results beat the consensus forecast of 3 cents a share by analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Sales for the latest quarter totaled $351.1 million, with new product sales up 23 percent. Sales for the same period last year were $336.9 million.

“We executed well on the top line in what is historically a seasonally soft quarter in the industry, with sales near the high end of our previous guidance,” said Kirk Pond, president, chief executive officer and board chairman.

Fairchild shares closed at $11.89, up 52 cents, in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company has 10,000 employees worldwide with manufacturing plants in Maine, Utah, Pennsylvania, China, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the Philippines.

On the Net:

AP-ES-04-17-03 1724EDT

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