Marvell Technology Sees Higher Q2

May 30, 2011

Marvell Technology (MRVL) makes semiconductor chips for hard disk drives, cell phones, networking and telecommunications. Recently the going has been rough for Marvell stockholders, as reflected in its stock price. After a high of $22.87 in April 2010, the stock hit a 52-week low at $13.87. After the Marvell analyst conference call, on Friday the stock jumped 11%, from the Thursday May 26 close of $14.56 to the Friday close of $16.17. So is that it for Marvell, or are we starting a new ramp?

Marvell's management described the results for Q1 fiscal 2012 ending April 30, 2011 as a low point in their cycle. Partly this was the usual seasonality as consumer end products build in Q2s and Q3s. But it also reflected poor sales to RIM for Blackberry models, a slow growth rate in the hard disk drive market, and slow new product ramps. In each case Marvell makes one or more mixed digital and analog chips for the end products.

Revenue for Q1 was $802.4 million, down 11% sequentially from $900.5 million and also down 6% from $855.6 million in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue was at the very low end of guidance. I think the stock had been shorted on the theory they would actually miss guidance, and they did miss Street estimates.

However, Marvell reported that things are already picking up in Q2 and the long-promised Marvell Inflection Point may finally make an appearance in Q3. Q2 revenues are now expected between $870 to $910 million, with non-GAAP EPS of about $0.37, which would support a stock price far higher than Friday's close.

The change in fortunes has several factors. Marvell is leading (or certainly one of the top 2 leaders) in the Solid State Drive market, which is ramping pretty nicely as prices drop and people see the advantages of SSDs. It is also a leader in chips for high-end networks. In the smartphone market we know the competition is intense, but Marvell providing the core chips for the Chinese TD-SCDMA standard based OPhone market. While OPhones started to be available in 2010, they are expected to ramp quickly as 2011 progresses. We are talking potentially 600 million OPhone customers, which makes the fight over American market share seem like a global side show.

Marvell is also sampling solutions for the LTE smartphone market. Again, expect fierce competition, but Marvell should win a share of slots in 2012.

I own Marvell stock and understand the risk of competing against the talented people at other semiconductor companies.

See also:

My May 26, 2011 Marvell (MRVL) analyst call summary
My March 2011 Marvell (MRVL) analyst call summary

William P. Meyers

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