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AMS posts third-quarter revenue jump, sees strong demand from Apple, others

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AMS posts third-quarter revenue jump, sees strong demand from Apple, others
FILE PHOTO: Employees of Austrian sensor specialist AMS work in their factory in Unterpremstaetten, Austria October 3, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo   -   Copyright  Leonhard Foeger(Reuters)
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By Kirsti Knolle

VIENNA (Reuters) – Apple <AAPL.O> supplier AMS <AMS.S> beat expectations with a 41% jump in third-quarter revenue on Tuesday and forecast further strong demand for its optical sensors from smartphone makers as it takes aim at a takeover of German lighting maker Osram <OSRn.DE>.

Revenue of $645 million topped its own forecast of $610-640 million and AMS said it expected a figure of $610-$650 million in the fourth quarter.

AMS’ Swiss-listed shares, which gapped higher at the open, were down 0.9% at 0810 GMT.

Its adjusted EBIT margin was 28% and AMS said it expected to at least maintain this level in the fourth quarter.

Operating cash flow increased more than threefold to $299 million, and AMS’s backlog stood at $253.1 million end-September.

AMS delivered even stronger results than expected and the outlook for the fourth-quarter also confirms the very solid business momentum not just with Apple but also the Android ecosystem,” Vontobel analysts said in a note to clients.

AMS’s main revenue source is optical sensors and Apple, its top customer, uses the Austrian firm’s 3D facial recognition technology in its latest iPhones.

Apple accounts for around 40% of group revenue, analysts estimate.

CEO Alexander Everke’s next aim is a takeover of Osram to combine AMS’s expertise in sensors with the German firm’s lighting know-how.

Everke’s first attempt failed this month as AMS secured 51.6% support from Osram shareholders, short of the required 62.5%.

Under a new bid, its offer price stays at 41 euros per share, valuing Osram at 4.6 billion euros ($5.1 billion), but with a lowered acceptance rate of 55%.

Private equity groups Bain and Advent informed Osram on Friday that they would refrain from a takeover bid for the time being, and AMS hopes that will convince investors to tender their shares.

But sources familiar with the groups’ thinking told Reuters on Sunday that they were waiting in the wings and could revive their approach if AMS’s bid failed.

AMS plans to take on billions of new debt to take over Osram.

AMS “feels confident about the new takeover offer for Osram… as it is financially attractive, strategically compelling and the viable option for Osram shareholders,” it said.

Subject to the German financial watchdog Bafin’s approval, the offer period is expected to begin this month, AMS said.

Last year the company was hit by production delays and initially slow demand for Apple’s iPhone X series last year, but this year has been positive with iPhone 11 models and higher demand from Android phone makers including Samsung <005930.KS>, and China’s Xiaomi <1810.HK> and Huawei [HWT.UL].

($1 = 0.8973 euros)

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; editing by Tassilo Hummel and Jason Neely)

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