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Applied Materials posts lower quarterly net income, doubles dividend

Applied Materials Inc. said its net income fell 81% to $135 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2018 from $703 million a year earlier after incurring a one-time tax charge related to the new U.S. tax law.

Diluted EPS dropped 80% to 13 cents for the quarter from 65 cents in the comparable year-ago period. The company noted a tax charge of $1 billion, including an estimate of a one-time transition tax payable over eight years.

Net sales jumped 28% to $4.20 billion in the first quarter from $3.28 billion a year earlier. Sales from the semiconductor business climbed to $2.85 billion from $2.15 billion, while those from the display division rose to $455 million from $422 million.

Operating income came in at nearly $1.2 billion in the first fiscal quarter, up from $807 million in the year-ago period.

The semiconductor equipment maker doubled its quarterly cash dividend on its common stock to 20 cents per share. The dividend is payable June 14 to shareholders of record as of May 24.

The company also said it approved $6 billion worth of share repurchases, incremental to $2.8 billion remaining under a prior authorization.

Looking ahead, Applied Materials projects net sales in the range of $4.35 billion to $4.55 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2018.