Compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, Applied net sales increased slightly to $4.01 billion. On a GAAP basis, the company recorded a gross margin of 44.3%, operating income of $1.02 billion or 25.3% of net sales, and earnings per share (EPS) of $0.89. The company returned $946 million to shareholders through $751 million in share repurchases and dividends of $195 million.
In fiscal 2018, Applied grew net sales by 19% to $17.25 billion. On a GAAP basis, the company recorded gross margin of 45.3%, operating income of $4.80 billion, and EPS of $3.23. The company generated $3.79 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $605 million and used $5.28 billion to repurchase 102 million shares of common stock.
“In fiscal 2018, each of Applied’s major businesses delivered double-digit growth despite challenging conditions in the second half of the year,” said Gary Dickerson, president and CEO. “While near-term market headwinds remain, overall industry spending remains robust, and we are focused on positioning Applied Materials for the long term, expanding our role in the A.I.-Big Data era and winning the major technology inflections ahead.”