Intel turns in healthy Q4 2017 financials as Spectre and Meltdown loom

Amid some of its stormiest seas in years, Intel released healthy fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 financial results today. The company took in $17.1 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 4% versus a year ago. The company made an operating profit of $5.4 billion for the quarter, up 19% versus a year ago, but that profit was wiped out in part in the final reckoning by a $5.4 billion one-time income tax expense related to foreign earnings under the United States' recent corporate tax reforms. Overall, the company recorded a GAAP net loss of $700 million with that charge. Gross margin increased 1.4 percentage points to 63.1%.

  Q4 2017 Q4 2016 Change
Revenue $17.1 billion $16.4 billion up 4%
Operating income $5.4 billion $4.5 billion up 19%
Net income -$0.7 billion $3.6 billion down 119%
Gross margin 63.1% 61.7% up 1.4 points
Earnings per share -$0.15 $0.73 down 120%

The company's client computing group brought in $9 billion for the quarter, down a hair from $9.1 billion a year ago. Operating income contracted slightly to $3.3 billion, down from $3.5 billion a year ago. Platform revenues (a combined measure of processor and chipset sales) fell 4%, while modems and adjacent product revenue grew 15% year-over-year. Notebook platform revenues were flat on the year, while desktop platform revenue contracted a further 8% year-on-year. PC volumes as a whole were up 1%, desktop platform average selling prices fell 2%, and notebook platform average selling prices fell 2%.

Intel's data center group revenue increased 20% on the year to $5.6 billion, and operating margins grew 59% to $3 billion. Data center platform revenue grew 18% on the year, while data-center adjacencies revenue grew 35%. Revenue from cloud service providers grew 35% on the year, enterprise and government revenue grew 11%, and communication service provider revenue grew 16%. Platform unit volumes grew 10%, and average selling prices were up 8%.

The Internet of Things group took in $879 million in revenue, up 21% from a year ago, plus a further $128 million from Mobileye. Operating income for the Internet of Things group grew 43% to $260 million before a $12 million loss from Mobileye was accounted for.

The Non-Volatile Solutions Group enjoyed 9% revenue growth year-on-year to $889 million, and the division turned a $31 million operating profit. The Programmable Solutions Group, formerly Altera, grew its revenue 35% on the year for $568 million and made $156 million in operating profit for a 95% year-on-year increase.

For its full-year fiscal 2017, Intel brought in $62.8 billion in revenue, up 6% from a year ago. The company made an operating profit of $17.9 billion, up 39% from a year ago, and posted net income of $9.6 billion, down 7% from 2016. The company touted record fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 revenues as part of its results.

For the first quarter of 2018, Intel expects revenue of $15 billion, plus or minus $500 million, with an operating margin of approximately 25%. For the full year of 2018, Intel expects revenue of $65 billion, plus or minus $1 billion, and operating margins of 28%. Effects on the company's finances from the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, if there are any, will likely appear in Intel's next quarterly report.

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