Thursday, December 3, 2009

Marvell Technology (MRVL) Blows Past Competitors

Even non-engineers can appreciate the engineering of Marvell Technology Group (MRVL). After making a number of technological break-throughs in 2008 and earlier in 2009, revenues are ramping very quickly as products containing their semiconductor chip systems are being built.

For an overview of Marvell technology, see Marvell Under the Hood. For my past analyst conference summaries, see Marvell Analyst Conference Summaries.

Revenue for the quarter ending October 31, 2009 was $803.1 million, up 25% sequentially from $640.6 million and up 2% from $791.0 million year-earlier.

Net income of was $201.6 million, up 245% sequentially from $58.5 million and up 183% from $70.9 million.

EPS (earnings per share) were $0.31, up 244% sequentially from $0.09 and up 181% from $0.11 year-earlier.

Cash and equivalents ended at $1.46 billion. Cash flow from operations wa $203.5 million. $196 million free cash flow. Inventories rose to $239 million to deal with areas of tight supply. Long term liabilities are $174.3 million.

Non-GAAP, which excludes $34.4 million in stock-based compensation, $26.5 million amortization, $1.9 million restructuring, but adds back in the $32.6 million tax benefit: net income $231.8 million. EPS $0.35.

Guidance for fourth fiscal quarter 2010 was $802 to $850 million in revenues. Networking and storage sequential growth, with normal seasonal slowdown of wireless. 58.5% non-GAAP gross margin. $235 million non-GAAP operating expenses. $254 million operating profit. Other income $1.5 million. Tax $12 million. 670 million diluted shares. $0.33 to $0.39 non-GAAP EPS. $150 million free-cash flow. GAAP EPS about $0.09 less than non-GAAP.

Analyst Questions and Answers (summary):

Hard drive market dynamics? First quarter 2010 should continue to be helped by low cost of PCs. Our hard drive customers are optimistic.

Gross margin improvement and mix? We don't provide gross margin by end-market segments. Mobile and wireless end markets experienced very good growth, and your margin estimates for that segment may be off.

China Mobile processor market size? PXA920 is very specific, high volume, high performance for standards of China market. It is state-of-the art smart phone solution, but also cost effective enough for the mass market. Our aspiration is higher than any number anyone is throwing out yet.

Sustainability of gross margins? Semiconductor business gross margins should be on high end as prices go down, to offset other expenses. This is a fundamental shift. The numbers we have are fair numbers and we plan to maintain them as long as we can, and best-in-class semiconductor companies will need to achieve this range.

Are your customers in hard drives adding to inventories? We are on a consignment basis, so they do not need to build inventories of our chips. Full feature PCs, even laptops, are now under $500, which is building demand, especially in emerging economies.

Dividends? We do not believe we are out of the economic downturn, so it is too soon to talk about distribution of cash. Our bias is to have more cash than we need in order to not be at the mercy of banks.

China business going forward? We are optimistic about our work for China Mobile; we have been working with them for 2 years. PDS/CDMA 3G is the pride of China. We believe it will be the main technology in China going forward, so we expect a very strong second half of next year.

Visibility is much improved. Inventory is leaner. We have had some shortages and longer lead times, so customers are giving us more visibility.

O-phone success detail? PXA920 will be used by many OEM cell phone makers for the China market; not all of them will be O-phones. The main chip is the most highly developed ever, but we also have the chip set solutions (power, wi-fi, etc.) that go with this. Revenues will start to ramp in the second half of next year; not contributing yet.

Bluetooth Wi-Fi combo part growth? We are very happy with traction with this device is finally taking off. The ramp now is the first generation device, a second generation is in design now. Any device requiring Bluetooth and WiFi is a potential market.

Reviewed how integration of systems on a chip help everyone, including the OEMs and end customers, while lowering everyone's costs despite increasing Marvell's gross margin.

ARMADA initial end markets? Across the board. Chips range from low end to high end. The run on all the ARM software in the market. So the market is any consumer device from HDTV decoders to picture frames to Internet portals like netbooks to automotive display consoles.

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