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Chip designer ARM gets iPhone 6 boost, shares hit a high

ARM Holdings, the British chip designer favored by Apple, beat expectations for first-quarter profit thanks to demand for the iPhone 6, and said its royalties would grow as its latest technology is used in more smartphones.

Shares in the company rose to an all-time high of 1,233 pence after it posted a 24 percent rise in first-quarter pre-tax profit to 120.5 million pounds ($179.1 million).


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That beat analysts' expectations of 115 million pounds, according to a company-provided consensus.

Shares traded over 6 percent higher during the session, before closing around 3.8 percent up.

"In the second half of 2015 we expect to benefit from the increasing deployment of ARMv8-A technology, our latest generation of processors, in the newest smartphones and tablets," Chief Financial Officer Tim Score said on Tuesday.

"These chips typically have a slightly higher royalty rate than the previous generation."

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Royalty revenue, collected a quarter in arrears from a record 3.8 billion chips shipped, rose 26 percent on an underlying basis, ARM said.

Analyst Julian Yates at Investec, who has a "hold" rating on ARM, said it was a good set of numbers, helped by "stellar" royalty growth.

The strong demand for its newest processors - shipped by nine of its chip-making partners in the quarter, representing around 3.5 percent of ARM-based chips - allayed concerns about a slowdown in the top-end of the smartphone market.

"One of the key drivers for ARM's royalty growth in 2015 is in the increasing pervasion of our latest generation technology across all smartphones," Score said.

Besides the iPhone 6, ARM's new technology is also in devices such as in Samsung's Galaxy S6, launched last month, and Huawei's new P8.

Just over half of the company's royalties comes from smartphones, with categories such as micro controllers used in appliances and embedded chips providing the rest.

ARM's processor licensing revenue dipped 2 percent, missing market forecasts, but Score said he expected licensing revenue to rise 5-10 percent in the longer term.

Industry-wide revenues had slipped after a busy fourth quarter, in line with normal seasonal trends, which would be reflected in its second quarter, Score said. But overall second-quarter revenue would be in line with market expectations, which stand at $354.6 million.