CHIP maker Intel boosted revival hopes in the tech sector today after revealing that first quarter profits nearly quadrupled on a year ago.
The industry bellwether benefited from higher sales of new chips for computer servers - the kind of purchase that many firms delayed in the recession.
Sales rose 44% to 10.3 billion US dollars (£6.7 billion) in the three months to March and meant Intel achieved net income of 2.4 billion dollars (£1.6 billion), well ahead of Wall Street hopes and last year’s 629 million dollars.
The company, which has offices in Swindon, also raised its margin guidance for this year and said it was optimistic about prospects in 2010.
It expects to hire about 1,000 people this year worldwide, having reduced its headcount over the last year from 82,500 to 79,900.
Worldwide information technology spending is expected to rise more than 5% in 2010, after falling 1% in 2009, according to market research firm Gartner.
As well as chips for computer servers, Intel said demand for processors for higher-end laptops was stronger than expected as firms upgraded staff computers.
In recent months, growth was largely driven by consumer demand for netbooks, which are used for surfing the internet and generate lower margins than chips for normal laptops.
Intel is the first major technology company to report its results this year.