October 25, 2018 / 8:27 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 2-Data center, PC demand drives Intel profit beat

(Adds forecast, background, analyst's comment, shares)

Oct 25 (Reuters) - Intel Corp beat analysts' estimates for quarterly profit and revenue on Thursday, driven by its high-margin data center business and strong demand for its PC chips, sending its shares up about 6 percent in extended trading.

The company's performance and better-than-expected fourth-quarter forecast should come as a relief for investors after three days of grim news from other major chipmakers that have shaken stock markets globally.

Texas Instruments Inc, STMicroelectronics NV and SK Hynix have all warned of slowing demand for the remainder of the year.

Intel forecast current-quarter revenue of $19 billion and adjusted earnings of $1.22 per share. Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $18.40 billion and a profit of $1.09 per share, according to Refinitiv data.

Intel has been increasingly catering to a booming data center market as revenue from PCs has flattened since 2011.

Revenue from its data center business rose 25.9 percent to $6.14 billion in the quarter, while analysts were expecting revenue of $5.89 billion, according to financial and data analytics firm FactSet.

Rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc, which has been gaining ground with its new EPYC chips for servers, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday but forecast fourth-quarter revenue below estimates due to falling demand for its graphics chips from cryptocurrency miners.

Revenue in Intel's client computing business, which caters to PC makers and is still the biggest contributor to sales, also rose 15.5 percent to $10.23 billion, beating FactSet estimates of $9.33 billion.

Intel's PC sales have trended positive in recent quarters, lifted by stronger demand. Many businesses have started the process of buying new PCs because Microsoft Corp has said it will end support for Windows 7 in early 2020.

"There's been really strong demand for both the consumer and enterprise for PCs which helped. They also did a great job managing through some supply disruptions," said Elazar Advisors analyst Chaim Siegel.

Last month, the chipmaker said it had enough chip supplies to meet its revenue forecasts, addressing for the first time a shortage of its chips for PCs.

Net income rose to $6.40 billion, or $1.38 per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 29 from $4.52 billion, or 94 cents per share, a year earlier. bit.ly/2Q193je

Excluding items, the company earned $1.40 per share.

Net revenue rose 18.7 percent to $19.16 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting adjusted earnings of $1.15 per share and revenue of $18.11 billion.

The company is still in the midst of a CEO search following the departure of Brian Krzanich in June after an investigation found he had a consensual relationship with an employee in breach of company policy. Chief Financial Officer Robert Swan is currently acting as its interim CEO. (Reporting by Sonam Rai in Bengaluru and and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Akanksha Rana; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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