Intel can grow even with flat PC sales: CEO

Intel can achieve mid-single-digit growth even as its PC business remains flat, CEO Brian Krzanich told CNBC on Friday.

"We're able to grow our business with the data center business, with the Internet of Things, with flash memory and all the other products we're in," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "Our projections for the PC? Flat-ish year and anything above that will be growth above our numbers."

Intel easily beat expectations for fourth-quarter earnings and revenue on Thursday, but issued softer-than-anticipated first-quarter guidance. The company forecasts its PC business will not grow in terms of units and average selling prices will decline slightly.

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The chipmaker reported earnings of 74 cents per share on revenue of $14.72 billion, versus a consensus estimate for 66 cents per share and $14.71 billion in sales.

On Friday, short seller Jim Chanos revealed on "Squawk Box" that he had a short position in Intel. He took the opportunity to ask Krzanich about the stretch between receivables, which were up 24 percent year over year, and revenues, which grew 6 percent.

Krzanich said it was normal for receivables—monetary obligations owed a company by customers—to be up slightly at this time of the year. Intel is very comfortable with where its customers and inventories are across the supply chain, he added.

"We think things are right in line and played out in the fourth quarter just as we would have expected as you seasonally move through a fourth-quarter period where the consumer is buying and you're moving into Q1 again," he said.

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Chanos also expressed concerned that Intel's $7 billion depreciation expense is just $3 billion to $4 billion below its capital expenditures. Given that revenue growth is in the single digits, he asked Krzanich if its depreciation is understated.

The capital Intel deploys has a varied depreciation life, Krzanich said. While buildings and infrastructure have a 20-year depreciation cycle, chipmaking equipment may have a four- or five-year depreciation cycle, he explained.

"So when we project out over time, we're very comfortable with where our depreciation is. It does climb a little bit over time, but not excessively," he said.

As for market rumors that Apple may not be using Intel chips in its notebooks in the future, Krzanich said his knowledge of that development is limited to those rumors.