Apple's current processor supplier Motorola has announced its fourth-quarter and final-year results.

Semiconductor sales climbed 15 per cent to $1.3 billion for operating earnings of $18 million, compared to a net loss of $798 million last year.

Motorola CEO Christopher Galvin stressed: "We will continue to make investments in research and development."

Galvin sounded an optimistic note when he said: "The world economies are showing some underlying signs of a rebound, which - if not significantly disrupted by world events - could have a favorable impact on our markets."

Mike Zafirovski, president and chief operating officer, said: "Sales and profitability in the fourth quarter improved. The restructuring actions we have taken in all aspects of Motorola during this multi-year turnaround effort are continuing to achieve positive results."

Motorola reported full-year 2002 sales of $26.7 billion, compared to sales of $29.9 billion in 2001. This meant a net loss of $2.5 billion - $1.4 billion less than that suffered in 2001.

The company returned 3 per cent more sales in its fourth quarter year-on-year ($7.5 billion). It also returned earnings of $174 million, or eight cents per share - it lost $1.2 billion in last year's fourth quarter.

Looking forward to the coming quarter, the company expects sales to remain fairly flat, though it predicts sales will rise three per cent during 2003.