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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com Boston Globe Online / Business / 2001 Globe 100

Wireless growth boosts revenue



Growth's rewards prove tough to sustain
A look at this year's Growth 50 list shows that in the new economy -- whatever that may come to mean -- growth is unpredictable and hard to maintain. Continued

1. ACT Manufacturing Inc.
2. Provant Inc.
3. Analog Devices Inc.
4. Sapient Corp.
5. Foilmark Inc.

Get the chart
The Growth 50

nalog Devices is making its second consecutive appearance in the number two slot on The Globe 100 list, following a year that set company records in every respect.

Using the company's own figures - which differ from those in The Globe 100 because Analog's fiscal year ended Oct. 28, while the Globe looked at calendar 2000 - the Norwood-based maker of specialty analog computer chips posted $2.6 billion in revenue last year, up 78 percent from fiscal 1999.

Analog's operating margin during its fiscal year nearly doubled to 30 percent, and net earnings for shareholders were nearly triple those from the year before.

To be sure, the entire semiconductor sector did well last year, amid high expectations for the Internet and communications.

''The market tended to buoy everyone, so to a certain extent, everyone got a free ride,'' said Jerald Fishman, president of Analog Devices since 1991 and chief executive since 1996.

But as semiconductor sales overall grew 35 percent, Analog Devices nearly doubled that pace, as its analog integrated circuits were in high demand for wireless telecommunications.

These chips are the technology that turns voice and visual signals (which are analog, or continuous in nature) into digital packets needed for Internet, satellite, and DSL transmission.

According to Dataquest Inc., which tracks industry trends, Analog Devices rose to third place among world suppliers of analog integrated circuits last year, up from sixth place.

Altogether, signal-processing technology accounted for about 45 percent of revenue. Another 25 percent came from technology for consumer products, including compact disc and DVD players, digital cameras, and camcorders. Automotive, industrial, and military applications accounted for the balance.

Analog Devices had 9,100 employees at the end of last year, with major facilities in Wilmington and Norwood, as well as in North Carolina, California, Ireland, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

While the company has cut financial forecasts this year, it still expects first-half sales slightly above those of last year, with a slight drop in the third quarter.

At the same time, Analog Devices is well-positioned to ride out a prolonged economic downturn. A long-term debt financing last fall raised $1.1 billion from investors, building cash reserves to $2.5 billion - roughly one full year's revenue.



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