February 6, 2018 / 3:13 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Israeli chipmaker Ceva Q4 profit in line

(Adds forecast, share reaction)

JERUSALEM, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Israeli chip designer Ceva Inc reported lower quarterly profit that was in line with estimates on Tuesday, weighed down by higher research and development and other expenses.

Ceva earned 25 cents per diluted share excluding one-time items in the fourth quarter, compared with 32 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue rose 2 percent to $21.6 million.

The company, a licensor of signal processing platforms and artificial intelligence processors, was forecast to earn 25 cents a share on revenue of $21.2 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Ceva forecast revenue of $92 million in 2018, up from $87.5 million, while royalties are expected to rise 10 percent from $44.6 million last year. Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $96 million this year.

Ceva said it signed 13 licensing agreements in the final three months of 2017. Among them was a development agreement with a large automotive manufacturer for the next generation of its artificial intelligence processor for use in advanced autonomous driving systems.

Ceva's shares were up 0.3 percent at $40.50 in early Nasdaq trade.

In all of 2017, Ceva forged 45 licensing deals, boosting its licensing revenue growth by 35 percent. (Reporting by Steven Scheer and Tova Cohen; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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