PMC-Sierra Management Discusses Q1 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

| About: PMC - (PMCS)


Q1 2013 Earnings Call

April 25, 2013 4:30 pm ET


Jennifer Gianola

Gregory S. Lang - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Steven J. Geiser - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Vice President of Finance


Gabriela Borges - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Dean Grumlose - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Ryan Goodman - CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, Research Division

Sundeep Bajikar - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division


Welcome to the PMC First Quarter 2013 Earnings Conference Call. My name is Larissa and I'll be your operator for today's call. [Operator Instructions] Please note that this conference is being recorded. Now I'll turn the call over to Jennifer Gianola, Director of Investor Relations. Jennifer, you may begin.

Jennifer Gianola

Thank you, operator. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining the call. With me today are Greg Lang, President and CEO; and Steve Geiser, Vice President and CFO.

Greg will begin the call with a discussion of the business and key highlights from the first quarter 2013 and Steve will then discuss the financial results for the first quarter of 2013 and the business outlook for the second quarter of 2013.

Please note that our first quarter 2013 earnings press release was disseminated today via BusinessWire after market closed, and a copy of the release can be downloaded from our website.

Before we begin, I would like to point out that during the course of this conference call, we will be making forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, PMC's limited revenue visibility due to variable customer demands, market segment growth or decline, customer concentration, bookings rate, changes in inventory, supply constraints, foreign exchange rates and volatility in global financial markets and other risk factors that are detailed in the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Actual results may differ materially from the company's projections. For further information about these risks and uncertainties, please read the company's SEC filings, including our Forms 10-K and 10-Q.

Note that PMC undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. Please note that for each of the historical non-GAAP financial measures mentioned on this call, a full reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP financial measures is included in our press release issued today. In addition, a GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation of financial measures noted on our outlook will be posted on our website under the Financial Reports section of the Investor Relations tab.

[Operator Instructions] Thank you, and I will now turn the call over to Greg Lang.

Gregory S. Lang

Thank you for joining us today and welcome to our first quarter earnings call. We're pleased to report that our first quarter revenues were $125.2 million, within the expected revenue outlook. Our non-GAAP net income was $13.4 million and non-GAAP EPS was $0.07 per share. This translates to 11% operating margin, lower than 2012's operating margin of 15%, largely due to an increase in operating expenses within normal benefit reset that happens at the beginning of each year.

The first quarter played out largely as we expected. The environment continues to be challenging due to economic softness and weakness in carrier spending. However, we're encouraged by stronger bookings within the quarter and expect to grow revenues in the second quarter of 2013. Our book-to-bill ratio was greater than 1 for the second consecutive quarter. In this environment, we'll continue to tightly manage our expenses without major compromise to long-term growth and ensure our resources are invested in the areas that enable us to grow as markets recover and win the sockets that count.

With this backdrop, I'll now give you an overview of the results for Q1. Overall first quarter revenue was down 3% sequentially, better than normal seasonality. Our carrier business was up 3% over Q4 driven by both major product areas of our optical market segment. Optical was up 32% while the mobile segment was down 22% as a strong Q4 was followed by a weak Q1 in North America.

Storage revenues were down 6% from, a little more than what we expected but at the better end of typical seasonality. And at the top-level, the storage segment was 68% of total revenue, optical came in at 20% and mobile revenues came in at 13% of the total. For those of you tracking the legacy portion of our revenue, it was 7% of total revenue in Q1. We also expect about 7% in Q2.

Now I'll discuss a bit more detail in each market segment, starting with storage. Our storage market segment was down 6% versus last quarter. Although the traditional IT space was lackluster, we saw a healthier build out at our hyperscale data center customers. As I said in our January call, the new Adaptec Series 7 family of adapters is doing well and we're seeing strong interest from our large data center customers. Our Series 7 product line offers the industry's highest port count density, the greatest performance and lowest power on the market.

In the first quarter, we expanded our RAID family into the high growth, SAS HBA space with PCI Express Gen3 performance. Our Series 7 age family is similar to the Series 7 RAID adapters, delivering best-in-class performance and density. The products deliver over 1 million IOPS, with 6.6 gigabytes per second of sustained throughput and twice the density of our nearest competitor at 16 ports, making them the ideal choice for data center customers seeking high performance, high density solutions in very small form factors. In addition, the Series 7 HBA family integrates our industry's leading encryption technology for securing data in the cloud as well as emerging applications such as drive life cycle management. The Series 7 HBA family with our Max crypto technology encrypts data as it's written to the drive, such that when it comes time for a drive to be retired, no physical destruction of the drive is required.

Lastly, I'd like to update you on our 12-gig SAS family. I'm pleased with the execution of our team across all the products introducing 12-gig capability: our SAS controllers and expanders, Flash controllers and RAID-on-Chip devices. Our lead customers have had our production silicons since November of last year. Things are looking good and we're on track to support some of the earliest customer product launches this summer. To illustrate this point, at CeBIT, we conducted a demonstration of our 12-gig SAS RAID controller, inter-operating with Seagate's 12 gig SSDs, showcasing the performance of our highest density 16 port controllers. Why is this all important? Because traditional data centers do not address density -- data center solutions do not address density and performance challenges that come with a much higher speed performance of solid state drives. These cutting-edge storage solutions are critical in meeting current demands of storage system administrators. Our storage business is at the center of Big Data trends and we are well positioned to deliver leading storage solutions for next-generation enterprise storage, the data center and cloud services.

Now I'll move to the carrier business, which was up 3% overall, better than expected at the time of Q1 guidance. The details are as follows: The optical segment was up 32% in the first quarter versus the fourth quarter, increases due to double-digit growth in OTN revenues and record a OTN quarter for us, as well as PON returning to normal levels after a new marketing initiative by NTT, which is for new subscribers. The OTN strength has come primarily from China as they lead the world in OTN deployments.

During Q1, we announced the introduction of DIGI 120, the highest density 10-gig OTN processor and the industry's only single-chip solution supporting 12 ports of 10-gig, 3 ports of 4-gig or 1 100-gig port for OTN transport and switched applications. Continued growth in mobile data traffic and the projected 3x growth in data center driven WAN traffic are the catalyst behind an industry's need for 100-gig connectivity to aggregate the increasing deployment of 10-gig ports from the network edge. To unlock the full value of 100-gig network, service providers are architecting their transport infrastructure to enable dynamic bandwidth allocation with granularity from 100-gig, all the way down to 1 gigabit per second without interruption to network traffic in order to virtualize the optical network bandwidth. Our OTN family delivers the efficient sharing and dynamic assignment of network bandwidth resources, enabling OTN networks to effectively virtualize optical network bandwidth to meet the elastic traffic demands of Big Data. Our hi-fi flex and META products target 10 and 20 gig ports on the edge and the DIGI and META 120 target aggregation nodes in the metro network. This unprecedented level of silicon integration facilitates the most cost-effective designs, engineering efficiency and lowest power approach to OTN system solutions.

Optical transport networks play a critical role in providing the interconnect infrastructure required to efficiently and reliably deliver cloud-based services and PMC is at the center of this major trend.

Now on to the mobile market segment where our revenues were down 22% versus the prior quarter. The decrease was due to a strong Q4 followed by an unusually weak Q1 with CapEx of the 2 largest carriers in North America down over 25%. However, we're seeing a recovery in bookings for Q2.

Global mobile data traffic continues to grow in an outstanding rate. We believe our mobile portfolio of products is well-positioned to capitalize on this trend. In the first quarter, Cisco released their latest VNI report, which underscores the need for network transformation. Cisco's report is forecasting that global mobile data traffic is expected to grow at 66% CAGR for the next 5 years. In the same time, there'll be a 4x growth in smart phones. Lastly, we're making good traction with our customers in the remote radio head market segment and receiving positive feedback on our chipset. We've sampled a complete transmit, receive and clocking chipset that allows OEMs to design the radio transceiver functions on macro and small cell radio heads. 5 of the top 6 OEMs have completed their evaluation of all or part of our UniTRX chipset in Q1. 4 of the top 6 OEMs will start prototype designs this quarter for the next generation radio platform, using all or part of our UniTRX chipset.

Now on to the outlook for Q2. As we look to Q2, we expect the macro headwinds to continue but there are some encouraging signs. As I mentioned earlier, the book-to-bill ratio was greater than 1 for the second consecutive quarter. We expect Q2 revenues to be up 1% to 7% or in the range of $126.5 million to $134 million. Considering today's backlog, we believe that storage will be up sequentially, driven by large data center customers. In fact, our data center business is running about 2x the rate of last year. Our server design wins and revenue of outpaced market growth and will represent over half of our server revenue in Q2, exceeding HP's revenue for the first time. So we're excited about the strength we're seeing in this part of our customer base. We also believe the carrier side of our business will be up largely due to improved wireless backhaul revenue.

Today, our business focus is on transforming networks that connect, move and store Big Data. And as you all know, data traffic and data creation continues to grow at a rapid pace. We believe the fundamental drivers for our main growth areas in storage, OTN, backhaul and radio head solutions remain firmly intact. Further, we believe our design win position in each of these segments will allow us to grow share over the next few years.

With that, I'll hand it over to Steve for details on the financials and our outlook.

Steven J. Geiser

Thanks, Greg. I'll now discuss our first quarter financial results and comment further on our outlook for the second quarter of 2013.

We are pleased to report that first quarter revenue of $125.2 million was within, albeit below the midpoint of, our outlook range in macro-environment that remains challenging. Sequentially, this was 3% lower than the fourth quarter of 2012, less of a seasonal decline than we typically see for this period. Greg provided further details around this by each of our storage, optical and mobile end market segments.

In Q1, we had 2 customers, which each accounted for more than 10% of our revenues, calculated on a rolling 12-month basis, namely, HP and EMC. Non-GAAP gross margin in the first quarter was 70.4%, down 150 basis points from 71.9% in Q4 2012. This came in slightly below our outlook range for the quarter, driven primarily by changing product mix, as well as some effect of fixed cost over lower revenues as one would expect.

On a non-GAAP basis, operating expenses came in at $75 million, an increase of $6.3 million from Q4 2012. This sequential increase was primarily due to higher labor and tape out related expenses. The increase in labor related expenses was driven by the annual payroll reset of employee benefits at the beginning of the calendar year, higher accruals for variable compensation and a lower amount of vacation taken as compared with the fourth quarter. This resulted in non-GAAP operating margin of 11% for the first quarter, down sequentially compared to 19% in Q4 and up slightly year-over-year compared to 10% in Q1 2012. Non-GAAP net income was $13.4 million or $0.07 per share as compared to $25.1 million or $0.12 per share in the fourth quarter of 2012 with the decrease mainly driven by the factors just described.

Q1 GAAP net loss per share was $0.03 versus $0.05 net income per share in Q4. The primary items reconciling GAAP to non-GAAP net income for Q1 are as follows: $10.8 million in amortization of purchased intangible assets, $7.4 million in stock-based compensation expense and $2.5 million in income tax related adjustments. You can see our press release issued today for a full reconciliation.

Before turning to the balance sheet, I'd like to comment briefly on the GAAP tax accounting correction described in our press release issued today. These corrections essentially reverse the majority of the tax accounting effects related to inter-company transactions of 2009 that were described in Note 19 of our financial statements in our 2012 10-K and were considered immaterial. These corrections in the current period arose from a recent reversal in accounted advice previously received. We will continue to report the effect of these revisions in each of our current reports for fiscal 2013, as we make references to prior reported financial data.

Now turning to the balance sheet. We ended the quarter with $297 million of cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments and investment securities. This is a $24 million increase over our Q4 ending position of $273 million. This increase arises from over $14 million of cash generated from operations, approximately $15 million from stock option exercises and employee stock purchases, partially offset by $5 million used for the purchase of capital assets and IP.

Our net inventory at the end of Q1 was $25.7 million, approximately $2 million higher than the prior quarter as a result of normal changes in customer activity. Net inventory turns remain at a good level in Q1, only slightly lower at 5.8x compared to 6.2x in Q4. Q1 ending deferred revenue was similar to Q4, at about $8 million, which relates to inventory at our distributors. Overall, our inventory including at distributor, remains well-managed. In terms of lead times from our foundry partners, they have remained stable and we have adequate wafer supply to meet our forecasted demands.

Now I will turn to our outlook for the second quarter of 2013. As Greg mentioned, we expect Q2 revenues to be in the range of $126.5 million to $134 million, an increase of 1% to 7% over the first quarter. This takes into account current levels of demand and our expectation of booking rates through the balance of the quarter.

Judged backlog at the end of Q1 was approximately $95 million. This implies turns of approximately 27% from the beginning of the quarter to reach the midpoint of our revenue outlook. This level of quarterly turns would be consistent with the rate realized over the past 5 quarters, which have ranged from 24% turns to 36% turns.

On a non-GAAP basis, we expect our overall gross margin percentage in Q2 to remain in the range of 70.5%, plus or minus 50 basis points. This is down slightly from our prior guidance of 71% due to a higher concentration of board sales in our storage segment, which carry a gross margin that is slightly below our corporate average.

Non-GAAP operating expenses in Q2 are expected to increase to the range of $75.5 million to $77.5 million. This growth of expenses over Q1 is due to an expectation of a multiyear record level of tape out activity. Mass cost and related expenses are expected to grow by approximately $5 million over the prior quarter, with these increases partially offset by other cost reductions. As I indicated in the private -- in the previous earnings call, we expect quarterly expenses in the second half of the year to come down to the low to mid $70 million range. We expect interest income on cash and investments in Q2 to be approximately $0.3 million. We expect non-GAAP tax provision in Q3 to be approximately 0. As a reminder, tax expense can be impacted by a number of variables associated with our ASC 740 liabilities, including but not limited to, a change in foreign income and product mix. Non-GAAP earnings per share are projected to be $0.08 based on the midpoint of our outlook range, assuming a diluted share count of 208 million. With that, we'd like to open the call up to questions.

Question-and-Answer Session


[Operator Instructions] Jim Schneider from Goldman Sachs is on, available.

Gabriela Borges - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

This is Gabriela Borges on behalf of Jim. I was hoping to get some more detail on drivers of the mobile business. You mentioned the weak 1Q driven given by the decline in North American CapEx. Could you maybe give us some more color on your expectations for 2Q and what kind of visibility you have into the back half of the year?

Gregory S. Lang

Yes, the Q1 results were off of a very strong Q4. You remember, we have -- you may remember we had a very big uptick in Q4 and that corresponded actually with an uptick in spending in North America for last quarter -- excuse me, for Q4 but in Q1, we saw the reverse of that which was a big decline. Both of the 2 big carriers announced last week that they cut back CapEx substantially in the first quarter. For next quarter, we do think it's going to get back to more reasonable levels, maybe not quite to Q4 levels but we do see it coming back pretty close to that. So that's good. The visibility from a second half of the year I think it's still pretty limited. We have the -- I think the big, the giant carriers between AT&T, Verizon, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, et cetera still talking about major CapEx spend, probably the most substantial of which is China Mobile with their LTE rollout starting in the second half, some people speculating as early as May. So we're cautiously optimistic that, that should produce some good results for us later in the year especially with the slow start that suggests that things are more back-end loaded so we'll have to see but our visibility's really only in the form of the same press that you see and the backlog that we have on the books, which is fairly limited at the moment.

Gabriela Borges - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

That's helpful. And then if I could ask a follow-up about the data center revenue growth opportunities that you mentioned in the prepared remarks. How should we think about modeling that growth going forward through the -- given that trends here seem to be much more robust than the more traditional enterprise segment?

Gregory S. Lang

Yes, that's a great question. I think it's, I think everybody is aware that kind of traditional IT space is, especially in the server area, is flattish. As a matter of fact, I think Gartner came out with their new data on Monday that showed year-over-year, Q1 was I think down about 1%, so pretty flat. But the flip side of that is in the data center part of the business, that was actually up I think it was 7% or so year-over-year so clearly that's the place that we're seeing growth and seeing positive traction. Also it's a place where our products fit quite well. So we're excited about the fact that we're the only company in the industry with a 16-port, very high density, high performance, low profile product that really plays well into an environment that values space and power. So it's a great fit. So as I mentioned in the prepared remarks, we're already doubled the rate that we were running at last year. Our non-HP server business being the business that we do with server customers other than HP is now bigger than HP's business, which I think maybe a lot of people underestimate or under appreciate that part of our mix where we have been growing meaningfully and expect that to continue to the balance of next year and beyond.


Kevin Cassidy from Stifel, Nicolaus is on line with a question.

Dean Grumlose - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

This is Dean Grumlose calling in for Kevin. A little further on the mobile backhaul business perhaps could you add some color on what may be pacing the rate of deployment of these solutions? Is it CapEx decisions or is it technical field trials or how might you characterize the outlook for this particular part of your business?

Gregory S. Lang

I think the majority of it I would put in the category of CapEx decisions, as people roll out LTE networks that clearly are going to need to build out higher bandwidth backhaul. The old technology, the old way to do it was basically T1/E1 pipes or maybe aggregate a couple of those together but that's clearly outdated for any LTE network. So people are definitely upgrading as they move on. But outside of North America, the other big economies in Europe and China, et cetera have not really rolled out LTE at this stage. So we're waiting and watching for that to happen. I think China has made their plans -- China Mobile has made their plans very clear for the back half. That will provide some uplift. And also in North America, we believe there's more to do and we don't believe that, that buildout is complete. But that is contingent on the big guys deciding to go back and finish building up their network. I think the signs there are good because as you've seen from AT&T's Project Velocity in their announcements there, they recognize the need to do this. Now it's a question of when they start spending the money to build out the backhaul as well as the transport to carry that data traffic.

Dean Grumlose - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

As you see this backhaul being deployed, is it the -- how would you attribute that between smaller cells and more traditional larger cell base stations?

Gregory S. Lang

Well today, almost there really isn't a substantial small cell market today. That's something that I think is probably going to be a 2014 phenomenon. There's clearly trials and a lot of marketing and positioning going on right now. But I think in terms of volume deployment, it's going to be, I think it's going to be in 2014. Maybe we'll some at the end of the year. The backhaul for small cells is an interesting question because depending on where it's placed, how it's placed, I saw one of our customers who built a backhaul, a small cell backhaul solution using our Wintegra network processor. They actually built a platform that you could plug in anything from ethernet to PON, to a TDM pipe. So they were completely flexible at what kind of transport you used but they still needed the protocol management and the ability to provide multiple services that we deliver in our network processors. So I think the backhaul question from small cells is still one that's we're going to all learn about here over the next year as people really start to deploy small cells.


[Operator Instructions] Srini Pajjuri from CLSA is online with a question.

Ryan Goodman - CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, Research Division

This is Ryan Goodman for Srini. I have a question on the 12 gig SAS merchant SSD controller solution that you guys are working on. We're starting to see some of these products actually come to market or at least the 12-gig SAS SSDs. I know there were some recent announcements that had a competitor's solution and you've also announced that you have a larger win. So maybe just could you give us an update on how this market is shaping up in terms of timing, potential opportunity in terms of size and how the competition is looking?

Gregory S. Lang

Yes. Good question. The 12-gig in general, I think we'll see the first products start to ship in production quantities and quality later this summer, probably coincident with the next cycle of Intel server products. I think the ecosystem, meaning the rest of the pieces around it, in terms of SSDs and even connectors, et cetera, is probably lagging that a bit. I think it's probably going to be later in the year. And from a storage system side of the equation, I think that, that's probably well into 2014. So early products in the server-side later this summer and then the storage system guys perhaps sometime next year and the pieces in between, coming kind of in between those 2 dates. The -- we have not made an announcement at this point in terms of any partnerships. Our customers get a little bit sensitive about us announcing products for them as you would expect but we think that we'll be delivering solutions and able to get, talk more clearly about this by the end of the year once the ecosystem comes together around 12-gig.

Ryan Goodman - CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, Research Division

Okay. I guess just a follow-up kind of along these lines. I mean, just in general for SSDs, the merchant controller markets and some consolidation over the past years and some of the incumbents are kind of taking more of a dominant position. So what gives you the confidence just without a strong merchant controller presence to speak of yet, it seems that you're kind of breaking into this market. What gives you the confidence that you'll be able to have success as 12-gig ramps, I guess next year or more?

Gregory S. Lang

Yes, it's a fair question. We're entering at a time when consolidation and call it a bit of a shakeout is starting to happen. I think there's more to go. I think that at the end of the day, the challenge is going to be very similar to a lot of other markets that are served by silicon which is how do you get -- every individual player in the market can't do their own silicon, the costs are too high. So we think part of that shakeout is going to mean it's going to be more reliant on merchant silicon vendors. And we're looking for the opportunity at 12-gigs since that's a major transition from a technology standpoint to enter with the right set of performance and features and win some part of the business. We are the new guy, so it's going to be more challenging for us, there's no question but we think that we have some angles that allow us to win some designs there and get started.


Sundeep Bajikar from Jefferies is on line with a question.

Sundeep Bajikar - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

First on the mobile backhaul side. Is that a good way to characterize or estimate the size of your design win pipeline for WinPath3 just in terms of the revenue opportunity in front of the company? If you could offer a framework, I think that would be helpful.

Gregory S. Lang

Yes, mobile backhaul. We think that this is a business that can reach into the $80 million to $100 million per year range. And given where we are right now on the kind of revenue run rate, we think that's somewhere in the order of $30 million to $50 million, maybe $60 million of growth potential for us. So that's kind of the high-level. I think that's what you're looking for in terms of size and magnitude, correct?

Sundeep Bajikar - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Okay, great. And now the other question is on the data center side, kind of along the lines of the SSD discussion. There's a new class of products called nonvolatile dims that are just hitting the market. These are memory modules which integrate both DNAM and NAND on the high-speed memory bus. So the question is how much of the server-side caching opportunity do you think could be at risk to such types of products and what does it mean really for your plans on the PCI Express SSD front?

Gregory S. Lang

Yes, there actually is I think kind of a whole continuum of memory performance and I think the space is going to evolve meaningfully over the next, let's say 5 to 8 years but the second part of your question on PCI Express, we actually haven't announced a PCI Express product at this point. Our first product focus is on SAS, which is more traditional storage type of applications where you're not playing a caching role inside the box but more like a storage element outside of the box, if you will. And that's where we could see SAS playing most actively.


[Operator Instructions] And we have no further questions at this time. Ladies and -- thank you ladies and gentlemen. This concludes today's conference. Thank you for participating. You may now disconnect.

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