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The Associated Press April 19, 2012, 6:21PM ET

Freescale Semiconductor cuts 1Q loss, CEO retires

Chip maker Freescale Semiconductor Holdings I Ltd. said Thursday that its first-quarter loss narrowed from last year as the company cut costs in the face of declining revenue.

But sales were lower than expected and the company's forecast for second-quarter sales indicated they will be toward the low end or below Wall Street expectations, sending shares down almost 4 percent in aftermarket trading.

The company also said Thursday that CEO Rich Beyer, 63, plans to retire. Freescale's board of directors launched the effort to find his replacement, and said Beyer will remain CEO until the replacement is found.

Beyer joined Freescale in March 2008 and led the company through its initial public offering in May 2011.

Beyer said the company's first-quarter results were hurt by broader challenges in the microchip market. He said the market appears to be stabilizing, which could boost Freescale's revenue and profit going forward.

Still, Freescale forecast that second-quarter revenue will be between $975 million and $1.03 billion. Analysts were expecting $1.02 billion, according to FactSet.

During the quarter ended March 30, Freescale reported a net loss of $9 million, or 4 cents per share, compared to a loss of $148 million, or 75 cents per share, in the same period last year. The company said its adjusted loss was also 4 cents per share.

Revenue during the quarter was $950 million, down from $1.19 billion in the prior year period.

Analysts had been expecting a slightly deeper loss of 5 cents per share, but were expecting higher revenue of $961.3 million, according to a survey by FactSet.

Freescale managed to keep its costs lower. The company said its cost of sales was $548 million, down from $710 million in the prior year period.

The first quarter included $28 million in charges for new debt financing and the redemption of the $500 million in senior subordinated notes.

Shares fell 52 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $13.76 in aftermarket trading. During regular-session trading Thursday the stock gained 15 cents to close at $14.28. Shares are well below their year-high of $20.97 touched in July.

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