Compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2017, Applied grew net sales by 19% to $4.47 billion. On a GAAP basis, the company recorded gross margin of 45.4%, and grew operating income by 23% to $1.26 billion or 28.1% of net sales. GAAP earnings per share (EPS) grew 38% to $1.17.
On a non-GAAP adjusted basis, over the same period, the company reported gross margin of 46.4%, grew operating income by 22% to $1.31 billion or 29.2% of net sales, and increased EPS by 40% to $1.20.
The company returned $1.45 billion to shareholders through $1.25 billion in share repurchases and dividends of $199 million.
“While we have seen some near-term adjustments in customer spending, fiscal 2018 is on track to be another record-setting year for Applied Materials and we expect each of our major businesses to deliver strong double-digit growth,” said Gary Dickerson, president and CEO. “Our future outlook remains positive as the A.I.-Big Data era requires new breakthroughs in technology, from materials to systems, providing Applied with a great opportunity to play a larger and more valuable role in the ecosystem.”
In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, Applied expects net sales for fiscal 2018 to be in the range of $3.85 billion to $4.15 billion; the midpoint of the range would be approximately flat, year over year. Non-GAAP adjusted diluted EPS is expected to be in the range of $0.92 to $1.00; the midpoint of the range would be an increase of approximately 3%, year over year.
With this fourth-quarter outlook, Applied expects net sales for fiscal 2018 to be in the range of $17.1 billion to $17.4 billion; the midpoint of the range would be up approximately 19% year over year. Non-GAAP adjusted diluted EPS is expected to be in the range of $4.41 to $4.49; the midpoint of the range would be an increase of approximately 37%, year over year.