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OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:OVTI)

F4Q09 Earnings Call

May 28, 2009 5:00 pm ET

Executives

Brian Dunn – Investor Relations

Shaw Hong – President, Chief Executive Officer

Ray Cisneros – Vice President Sales

Bruce Wyer – Vice President Marketing

Analysts

Paul Coster – J.P. Morgan

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

Doug Freedman – Broadpoint

Yair Reiner – Oppenheimer

Operator

Welcome to the OmniVision Technologies earnings conference call for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2009. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to turn the presentation over to your host, Mr. Brian Dunn.

Brian Dunn

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to our fiscal 2009 fourth quarter earnings conference call. Just after the close of market today, OmniVision issued an earnings release reporting our financial results for our fourth quarter. You can access this release from the investor relations section of our website at ovt.com.

Please be advised that this call is being webcast live and is also being recorded for playback purposes. Both the live webcast and replay can also be accessed from the investor relations portion of our website.

Before we begin, we wish to remind you that certain information discussed in this call in particular, our revenues, earnings targets and our forward-looking product plan is based on information as of today, May 28, 2009 and contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainty. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in such statements.

For a discussion of these risks and uncertainties, you should review the forward-looking statement disclosure in the earning release we issued today as well as OmniVision's SEC filings including our annual report on Form 10-K for fiscal 2008 and our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other reports filed from time to time.

During this call we will discuss GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures. A reconciliation between the two is available in our earnings release posted on our website.

With that, I will now turn the call over to OmniVision's President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Shaw Hong.

Shaw Hong

I would also like to welcome everyone who is participating in our call today. Joining me today are Anson Chan, our CFO, Ray Cisneros, our V.P. of Sales and Bruce Wyer, our V.P. of Marketing.

I will begin the call with an overview of our results for the quarter and then provide an update on the progress of our operating strategy and competitive positioning. And in turn, we will examine how our strategy will enable us to move forward.

I will ask Ray to present an overview of sales activity and outlook followed by Bruce who will discuss new products and market share developments. Finally Anson will discuss in detail our financial results for the fourth quarter and provide our outlook for the first quarter of fiscal 2010. We will conclude as usual by answering as many of you questions as time permits.

I will begin today with an overview of our financial results for the fourth quarter. Revenues for the quarter totaled approximately $89 million. The vast majority of our revenue increase in the fourth quarter came from our emerging products business, in particular, our notebook and webcam business. Ray and Bruce will expand on this later.

Our GAAP net loss was $0.40 per share which was also slightly better than guidance for the quarter. Our non-GAAP net loss was $0.30 per share. We are pleased with our fourth quarter performance for several reasons.

Our financial results exceeded our expectations including revenues well above our guidance of $60 million to $70 million. We also strengthened our balance sheet by increasing our cash balance and lowering our investment in inventory.

Further, according to independent market analysis, we maintain our share lead in the majority of our target markets and we continue to believe that we lead the industry in technological innovation with a very diverse CMOS solution portfolio.

However, like many technology companies, we are still being affected by the global slowdown in consumer spending. As I stated in our last conference call, we cannot control the economic environment. However, we can control how we manage our business. We are pleased that we continue to successfully manage both our business and our balance sheet in the fourth quarter.

Looking at our fourth quarter, we are encouraged by a number of accomplishments including our recent and continuing design wins across market segments and regions. The ramp in production of our Omni VSI products, our CameraCube products and initial shipments of our high dynamic range products into the automotive market.

Our mission does not stop with near term goals. Going forward, we expect to meet our long term goals through the execution of our operating strategy which is, to invest wisely in the development of new technologies that enable us to continue to introduce innovative market leading products, to develop new and emerging product markets and geographies, to manage our supply chain efficiently and effectively which includes the continuous seamless collaboration with our supply chain partners, TSMC, VisEra and GemTech, and to manage and control costs and operating expenses.

I will now provide and update on each of these points. First and foremost, we are a technology company. Even now as many companies reduce their research and development spending, we remain committed to designing products that enable our customers to provide higher performance in their system, lower cost, increased product footprint, reduce time to market and enhance quality.

We believe our leading edge technologies have positioned us well ahead of the competition and that by delivering the industry's strongest lineup of digital image products and solutions we will continue to gain market share across our target market. This is evidenced by design wins across our principal market throughout the world.

This brings us to our next strategy which is to continue to develop emerging markets through the introduction of solutions that meet the specific needs of these markets. For example, we recently released new products for the medical and security markets both of which have received significant and initial design wins from our customers.

Those markets represent new revenue opportunities which can further diversity and strengthen our leading market position just as our notebook business has done for over the past two years.

In addition to expanding our lead in several key emerging markets, we are also expanding our global presence. We have a significant number of tier one customers who participate in key consumer markets throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

Our third key strategy is to continue to our close collaboration with our supply chain partners. TSMC, VisEra and GemTech to deliver increasingly more cost effective and value added solutions to our customers.

Together we continually look for ways to improve and increase the number of die per wafer. Our unique partnership provides the benefit of vertical integration with a cost saving of outsourced manufacturing. Our CameraCube and Omni VSI success is a result of working closely with our partners. We hope we share a common desire to lead the market.

Finally, as discussed during our third quarter conference call we will continue to contain certain operating expenses. Our goal is to reduce redundant and non essential expenses while maintaining an appropriate level of research and development spending so as to capitalize on attractive long term opportunities.

I will close by saying that we are cautiously optimistic regarding the returning demand for consumer electronics. We are even more optimistic about our strategy position in the space. We are confident in our ability to deliver the right products at the right time to satisfy demand throughout a variety of markets.

I'm confident that our strategy is sound and continues to fit our near term and long term needs and goals. As always we will continue to place the interest of our customers and stockholders above all else.

With that, I will turn the podium over to Ray who will provide an update on the quarter's sales activity.

Ray Cisneros

During the quarter we shipped approximately 65 million units at an average selling price of $1.36. This compares approximately to 56 million units at an average selling price of $1.43 in the third quarter. The decline in the ASP was a result in a change of unit mix.

During the fourth quarter, VGA and below represented an approximately 70 of our unit sales comparable to Q3. Unit sales of our 1.3 megapixel products were just above 10% as compared to just above 5% in the third quarter. Meanwhile, unit sales of our 2 million pixel and above products were approximately 15% as compared to 20% in Q3.

As Shaw mentioned, we did see renewed demand in the notebook webcam market in the fourth quarter. In fact, revenues from our notebook market increased sequentially by approximately 55% over the prior quarter and represented approximately 30% of our overall revenues in the quarter. We believe this was driven by growth in the netbook segment of the market.

Mobile phone represented slightly less than 6% of revenues during the quarter and the remaining 10% was driven by other emerging markets.

We are starting to see encouraging signs in our mobile phone business as we believe the majority of the channel inventory has declined over the past two quarters. Moreover, we believe customer demand is returning to a more predictable level.

In addition, demand for resolutions of two megapixel and above continues to ramp and is being reflected in new socket design wins on a worldwide basis.

We began volume production for the OV3650, our three megapixel RGB raw solution for smart phone applications for leading OEM's. This adds to the volume already shipped in our three megapixel SOC solution.

We believe that revenues from our three megapixel product lines will begin to comprise a significant portion of our revenues starting in the first quarter of fiscal 2010.

Other high resolution products are also gaining traction. Sales of our new Omni BSI five megapixel and eight megapixel products will begin in the current quarter and should increase in volume throughout fiscal 2010. We are consistently winning new designs with these two product lines across multiple regions, in particular with smart phone designs.

Strength in sales will be driven by end customers in North America and Taiwan regions. Most recently, end customers in China have also adopted the Omni DSI five megapixel solution. We believe our Omni BSI technology is being viewed as a differentiator for end customer product designs.

Our VGA sensors which are primarily used for entry level mobile phones also saw some renewed demand in the fourth quarter. For example, in Asia, where the majority of entry level mobile phones are designed and shipped, inventory is moving at a more steady and predictable level. Shipments have returned to levels almost equivalent to a year ago. We continue to monitor the market for entry level mobile phones very closely as it tends to ship rapidly.

We are also pleased that we recognized initial revenues in Q4 on our CameraCube products for the mobile phone market. There is a high degree of interest for this product line in major OEM's as well as mass market regions in Asia. The first shipments are VGA CameraCube products where cost and manufacturing efficiencies of this technology are most highly leveraged.

As previously mentioned, revenue in our emerging products group was driven by products for the notebook webcam market. Revenue for the notebook market increased evenly across the board from all major tier one OEM customers.

The netbook subcategory added to the surge in demand. During the quarter, we shipped a significant number of our specialized high sensitivity VGA and 1.3 megapixel sensors into this market. In Q1, we will also start shipping our fifth inch two megapixel product to the notebook market. This product was recently designed into several major OEM's and will ship for the summer season starting this quarter and next.

Another fast emerging category, the mobile internet device has added volume to our notebook PC business. The MID category is derived from traditional notebook platforms but has a higher degree of flexibility in design. As such, higher resolution sensors up to five megapixel are viable options and have been designed in.

Finally, we believe our Omni VSI family of products brings the highest degree of performance in the smallest available form factor. Our eight megapixel Omni VSI solution will begin shortly to a tier one OEM customer for a digital video camcorder product.

Lastly, we have secured design wins in new fast growing markets such as portable media; multi-media devices which we expect will generate revenue in the near term. In the coming quarters we will provide more details on these wins.

Putting all this into perspective, I would like to echo Shaw's earlier comments that there is still uncertainly around the timing and trajectory of consumer markets recovery. We believe our customers continue to take a cautious stance in inventory replenishment in the near term even as they plan new designs for the future.

At the same time we are encouraged with OmniVision's momentum across all our product markets. We continue to strengthen our position in higher resolution product lines while maintaining a strong presence in the VGA space. We believe we have the best technology and performance in the market and that is being proven by customer demand and socket design wins.

Shaw Hong

I would now like to turn the call over to Bruce to discuss our technology and marketing efforts in more detail.

Bruce Wyer

I will begin my discussion by encouraging market share data recently released by Techno Systems Research, a leading market research firm. Based on TSR's calendar 2008 data, we retained our number one position in overall market CMOS sensors based on shipments, broadening our market share lead in key merging markets.

Based on TSR's data, OmniVision now holds the number one market share position in the mobile phone, notebook webcam, security and surveillance, automotive, digital video camcorder and toys and games markets. TSR did not provide break out information on the medical market in which we are also strongly positioned.

We strengthened our number one position in the notebook webcam market with an additional 10 percentage point gain in market share year over year. We now have over 50% share in the notebook webcam and security markets.

This quarter we introduced six new products including our first nine megapixel product, the OV9810 which supports 1080P high definition video and delivers the industry's best low light sensitivity in its class. We anticipate this will strengthen our position in the digital still camera and digital camcorder market.

In the security market, we introduced the OV7960, our first security product targeted specifically for professional CCTV applications. Professional CCTV's represent the largest market in the security and surveillance industry. Worldwide demand for sensors for security applications is expected to grow from 40 million units shipped in 2008 to approximately 70 million units in 2012.

Moving on to the automotive market, despite the downturn in the overall automotive industry, our automotive business continues to grow. We assumed the number one market position based on units shipped in calendar year 2008. This quarter we introduced the world's smallest profile automotive qualified image sensor which is half the size of competing devices which delivers the industry's best low light sensitivity. The percentage of new vehicles with integrated cameras is projected to increase from roughly 20% in 2008 to nearly 70% in 2012.

We continue to gain traction in the medical market with key design wins for our recently announced OV6930, the industry's smallest footprint medical image sensor targeted specifically for endoscopic surgical applications.

Most importantly, we continued our lead as the number one CMOS image supplier to the mobile phone market, our largest target market.

We're confident in our ability to further broaden our lead in the coming year as innovation of new technologies continues. We're proud of our number one position across the majority of our target markets.

Going forward, we will continue to focus our efforts in leading the market in delivering complete solutions, the best in class in quality and unparalled support.

Shaw Hong

I would now like to turn the call over to Anson to discuss our financial performance.

Anson Chan

Good afternoon everyone. As Shaw mentioned at the beginning of the call, revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 were $89.1 million. During the quarter, the percentage of sales through our distributor channels increased to approximately 51% of revenues as compared to approximately 36% in the third quarter.

Direct sales to merchant manufacturers and resellers accounted for approximately 49% of revenues in the fourth quarter as compared to 64% in the third quarter.

Gross margin for the fourth quarter was 17% as compared to 22.4% last quarter. Excluding stock based compensation expense of $691,000 included in cost of revenues, gross margin was 17.8% down from 23.3% we reported in the third quarter.

The sequential decrease in gross margin in the fourth quarter was primarily the result of our aggressive inventory reduction efforts. During the quarter we sold a large amount of inventory that was produced three to six months ago. This inventory carried relatively higher cost. Meanwhile the ASP for this inventory continued to decline. This combination of factors resulted in lower gross margin during the quarter.

In addition, we recorded approximately $4.5 million of allowance for excess in obsolete inventories which is approximately 5.1% of our revenues for the quarter. We believe our gross margin has reached a trough in the fourth quarter and will start to recover in the first quarter of fiscal 2010.

R&D expense was $20.6 million in the fourth quarter, a slight increase as compared to $20.8 million last quarter. R&D expense this quarter includes approximately $2.9 million of stock based compensation expense. Excluding stock based compensation expense, R&D in the quarter was $17.7 million as compared to $17.8 million in the prior quarter.

SG&A expenses in the quarter totaled $14.4 million which was slightly higher than our third quarter SG&A of $14.9 million. The increase is attributable to higher than expected commission payments to channel partners during the quarter.

Our SG&A expenses included approximately $2.6 million of stock based compensation expense. Excluding stock based compensation expense, SG&A in the quarter was $11.8 million as compared to $11.4 million in the prior quarter.

Our GAAP operating loss in the quarter was $19.8 million. Excluding stock based compensation operating loss was $13.6 million. Our GAAP pre tax loss in the fourth quarter was $19.3 million. Excluding stock based compensation pre tax loss was $13.2 million.

Our GAAP tax rate in the quarter was a negative 4.4%. When we exclude stock based compensation expense, our non-GAAP tax rate was a negative 14.9%. This negative rate is driven by some of our tax paying entities in overseas jurisdictions and going forward, we believe our GAAP and non-GAAP tax rate will be in a negative single digit range.

Our GAAP net loss in the fourth quarter was $20.1 million or $0.40 per share as compared to a net loss of $18.2 million or $0.36 per share in the prior quarter. Excluding non cash stock based compensation expense; non-GAAP net loss for the fourth quarter was $15 million or $0.30 per share. This compares to non-GAAP net loss of $11.8 million or $0.24 per share in the third quarter.

Turning to the balance sheet, we are very pleased with the improvements in the fourth quarter. We closed the fourth quarter with cash, cash equivalents and short term investments totaling $274.8 million. This compares to $263.7 million at the end of the third quarter.

Improvements in the cash balance were primarily driven by a reduction in inventory as well as strong collections during the quarter. We're very pleased that we generated positive cash flow from operations for both the quarter and the year despite a tough economic environment.

Account receivables at the end of the quarter net allowances was $44 million down from $46.5 million in the third quarter. Our day sales outstanding was 44 days as compared to 53 days last quarter. We continue to be pleased with the progress we are making in our collections. Our DSO of 44 days may not be sustainable next quarter.

At the close of the fourth quarter inventory was $105 million, a decline of 28% over the balance of $146.5 million at the close of the third quarter. Quarter end inventory represented 127 day sales or annual inventory turns of 2.8 times and this represents a significant improvement over last quarter which had inventory at 217 day sales on turns of 1.7 times.

Because of this significant reduction in inventory levels, we have already begun increasing loadings in our supply chain. Fresh inventory will alleviate some of the downward pressure on our gross margin beginning in the first fiscal quarter of 2010.

Now I'd like to turn to our outlook for the first quarter of fiscal 2010 which ends on July 31, 2009. We continue to see sales improvements in the first quarter and currently expect first quarter revenues will be in the range of $90 million to $100 million. This should translate to a GAAP loss of between $0.31 and $0.21 per share. Excluding the estimated expense and the tax effects associated with stock based compensation, we expect non-GAAP loss will be in the range of $0.16 to $0.07 per share.

With that I'll turn the proceedings back to Shaw for some strategic commentary.

Shaw Hong

As noted, our financial performance and forecast are improving. We remain cautiously optimistic about the turnaround in the consumer product space. In the meantime, we continue to focus on the delivery of innovative and cost effective products that are designed to meet our customers needs today and in the future.

In addition, we continue to focus internally on fiscal responsibility and efficiency as we work towards long term success.

We are now ready to take questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions) Your first question comes from Paul Coster – J.P. Morgan.

Paul Coster – J.P. Morgan

Perhaps you can help us a little bit on the gross margin outlook. It seems now it's starting to look current and should we expect more of these write offs moving forward. And secondly as we move up the megapixel curve which sounds like it should happen with these move to three and five and eight megapixel, does that increase ASP's and increase gross margins and have you got a target gross margin and operating margin in mind for the company for fiscal year 2010?

Anson Chan

You're right. Gross margin situation should improve as we bring in fresh inventory and as we sell them in Q1 fiscal 2010. Your comment about the mix should also help in general. We do command a higher premium for our high resolution products because they tend to incorporate some of our newer technologies.

Regarding inventory reserve, it's hard to pin down and I think I mentioned, it's really a point estimate as we close the quarter, but in general as the mix of our inventory on hand becomes more up to date you should expect a lower inventory reserve moving forward. That will be another favorable factor for our gross margin going out.

Paul Coster – J.P. Morgan

Do you have a target for fiscal year '10?

Anson Chan

We do have an internal target, but as mentioned in the call earlier the visibility is still fairly limited so I think we'll just follow our historical practice of not providing too much guidance in that respect.

Paul Coster – J.P. Morgan

What share of the mobile phone market does OmniVision currently command according to that research company?

Bruce Wyer

The share we command is in excess of 20%.

Paul Coster – J.P. Morgan

You're aware that there's been a lot of speculation about Intec, VisEra doing business with Apple. Can you confirm that from your perspective?

Ray Cisneros

Obviously we can't comment on any particular customer names or some kind of relationship that you're commenting there, so we'll leave it at that. That's really something beyond the scope of this kind of meeting.

Paul Coster – J.P. Morgan

As we move forward, do you think the sales into direct sales as you're going up the megapixel curve will increase and what bearing does that have on gross margins?

Anson Chan

We tend not to break down gross margin contribution by resolution by products. I'll stick to the general commentary. Overall, we do tend to command higher premium when we push the higher megapixel products into the market.

Paul Coster – J.P. Morgan

And that's generally direct rather than through distributors?

Anson Chan

There's not a significant difference between the different channels.

Operator

Your next question comes from Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James.

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

The distributor mix seemed to go up sharply in the quarter. Is that something that we should expect going forward or should it be turned back to the traditional mix?

Ray Cisneros

The mix going into our distributor channels is very common as we start incorporating new business that comes on line. We have to ship quickly and so we start levering our channels to take care of that kind of quick turnaround. How it settles out, we'll have to look quarter by quarter on average.

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

Do you expect this quarter to be at these higher levels or is it going to come back down?

Ray Cisneros

It's hard to say but I'd expect similar levels.

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

What is your expectation for breakeven at a revenue level going forward. I think it used to be around $120 million or something like that.

Anson Chan

That's more on a non-GAAP basis and still remains very comparable at this point with the expectation that gross margin will recover.

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

Can you say that again? I didn't understand how you answered that question.

Anson Chan

On a non-GAAP basis as discussed in the past, we will need about $120 million of revenues to get to a breakeven point and that's with a gross margin, that's more comparable to our historic levels. On a GAAP basis, to get to breakeven I think we need about $140 million of revenues.

Operator

Your next question comes from Doug Freedman – Broadpoint.

Doug Freedman – Broadpoint

If you could just talk a little bit, you've done a nice job holding your expense level rather flat the last two quarters. Can you talk a little bit about how long you can continue to hold them at this level and is there sort of a knee in the curve when we get revenues back up to profitability on a pro forma basis? Do we unwind some of the cost savings? How should we think about the way you're going to manage the business going forward?

Anson Chan

As discussed on the call earlier, we are still focusing on reducing some of these non essential discretionary spendings. The overall operating expense though I doubt we'll see some drastic change at the current level unless we see a significant recovery in the overall market in which case we may invest in some additional projects.

With that said, if we have to stay at the current level we can for a fairly long period of time and at the same time, this is all on a GAAP accounting basis. At the end of the day, even at today's performance level which is generating cash for the business. So we can last awhile at the current activity level.

Doug Freedman – Broadpoint

If I could try to get some color on the gross margin opportunity that you have. I know you don't want to break out things on a megapixel basis. How about giving us an idea of the impact that say CameraCube has if you convert some of the market in your VGA sockets over from VGA dive products into VGA CameraCube or as you move people from standard product into DSI. Can you give us some idea if these are margin accretive or at what point they'll be margin accretive?

Anson Chan

The CameraCube is still early on in its life cycle and not so different from our other products. When the product is first introduced, the yields tend to be a little lower and so the margin contribution coming from this product is a little lower right now. It's hard to estimate exactly when we'll get to a healthier margin because it takes a bit of time for the market to adopt these products and start to turn into high production volume.

But the expectation though is that it will be accretive to our margin when we reach a steady state for this product rollout.

Doug Freedman – Broadpoint

And how about for the BSI product. What does that look like?

Anson Chan

The BSI product is going to be similar in the sense that it's still very early on in its life cycle. Right now, even internally I would not use the current projected gross margin as the long term goal for this product yet and we still have not reached a point where we can precisely calculate the margin contribution coming from BSI products.

Doug Freedman – Broadpoint

Fully diluted share count, what do you think that will be when we see pro forma profitability?

Anson Chan

It's hard to pin down because that involves a guestimate on what the stock price may be by then, but if I have to pick a number it would be maybe an additional 1.5 million shares.

Operator

Your next question comes from Yair Reiner – Oppenheimer.

Yair Reiner – Oppenheimer

I wanted to get a sense of what are you seeing in terms of the competitive landscape particularly in China?

Ray Cisneros

China is a very I would say active market and there's entry players almost on a quarterly basis. There's new ones and old ones and some that cycle in and out. You're question is not the easiest question to answer quite frankly because there's multiple competitors in China.

Now on the other hand, historically as you well know, OmniVision has a very strong position, very strong sales channels and very strong customer relationships so that keeps us on our toes but at the same time, quarter over quarter we produce very good results out of that region and we don't expect that to change.

Yair Reiner – Oppenheimer

And change in pricing pressures?

Ray Cisneros

Pricing is always a constant aspect of our business and we live with day in and day out. There's no change in that environment. There's always price pressures from our customers whether it be through our channels or direct with customers. That's just a general comment to your general question.

Yair Reiner – Oppenheimer

How do you feel about the speed at which your WLC product is being adopted or seeing it ramping up?

Ray Cisneros

We're extremely pleased with our current status and progress with the CameraCube product and as we mentioned, our first foray into this is going to be VGA CameraCube product. There's been a wide degree of interest in it both from direct OEM's as well as through I would say second tier type customers in various parts of the world.

In addition we do have plans for additional products beyond the VGA CameraCube but that is yet to be announced.

Yair Reiner – Oppenheimer

How should we think about tax for fiscal 2010?

Anson Chan

As mentioned I think a couple of calls ago, we do pay tax in some of the foreign jurisdictions so even when we have a loss net tax will still not be a benefit and that's happening now in Q4 when we ended with a negative tax so to speak and we expect this to happen again in Q1 because right now the outlook will move us out into a pre tax loss so that should be another negative tax rate. It should be in the single digit percentage.

Operator

Thank you for your participation in today's conference. This concludes the presentation.

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