Business, Hardware

AMD: Analysts expect losses to continue


On this coming Tuesday [April 21, 12:00PM EDT, conference call at Markets close at 5:00PM EDT] AMD will report its financial results for Q1 2009. We received previews from analysts, and the outlook is still gloomy.

Senior Semiconductor Analyst for Wedbush Morgan, Mr. Patrick Wang cited: "Contrary to the Barcelona ramp, we highlight management’s surprisingly clean execution of Shanghai and Istanbul [expected early in Q3]. However, we think management provides mixed commentary with conservative Q2 revenue guidance offset by positive comments in the march towards profitability – targeting Q2 op-ex of $500mn enabling break-even with $1.3bn in revs and 40% GM."

It looks like AMD experienced a nice rebound on both notebook and desktop demand caused by a market recovery, sales success of the Dragon platform [Phenom II + 7-series chipset + ATI 4800 graphics] and China’s Stimulus Plan. In fact, AMD experienced shortages of desktop chipsets, for the first time in couple of years – actually, since that ill-fated contract with Dell, that caused the company to dry- bleed its Channel in order to fulfill those 3M CPUs ordered. By some accident, Core 2 Duo appeared at the same time and the rest is history.

Industry Analysts reached a consensus over Q1 results – you should expect to see revenue of $970M, but continuing its losing streak with yet another loss, somewhere in the tune of $0.66 [$330M loss]. Given that during the writing of this story, AMD stock was valued at $3.33 – but bear in mind that during the reign of Hector Jesus Ruiz, the company submitted losses in the range of $6.3B, 400 million more than it was paid for ATI Technologies [5.4B + 500M for the remaining patent stack].

Some analysts are more optimistic and put AMD’s Q1 revenue in $1.07 billion range, significant jump from previously estimated figures. Looking into the magical bowl, Q2 should look equal to Q1, with around 1.07 billion,but a reduction of loses to $0.25 per share – 125.5M, or the lowest loss in then 10 consecutive quarters. Industry consensus calls for $965M and $275M in losses.

AMD faces the following challenges: their current cash cows are graphics, servers and the Yukon notebook platform. We’ll see how fast Intel’s CULV can erode the notebook share, and whether can nVidia reply in graphics segment. The biggest threat comes from recently launched Nehalem-EP server/workstation platform, but AMD has a ticket to ride: DDR2 memory is cheap as chips and you have the case of very aggressive Opteron pricing. We’ll see.