Surging Sales Boost Apple and Its Suppliers

by: Research Recap

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) stunning sales growth in the latest quarter bodes well for suppliers of components of the company’s iPhones, iPads and Macs – that is, if they can keep up with demand.

The firm posted a 90% jump in its second quarter profits compared to a year ago on Tuesday. Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook cited robust growth to better-than-expected sales of the iPhone.

“We had some staggering growth rates,” Apple’s Cook said in a conference call with analysts. “It was widespread.”

For example, in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Apple recorded iPhone sales of $1.3 billion, up 200%. Apple executives signaled their growing interest in China by announcing that they would open two new retail stores in Shanghai by this summer and plan to have 25 retail stores in the country by 2011. (ContraCostaTimes)

“I don’t think investors were braced for the kind of outside beat that we’ve gotten this afternoon,” said Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner on Tuesday. “All indications are that Apple’s momentum in the marketplace is continuing to accelerate.” (Reuters)

Reiner raised his price target on Apple to $320 from $285 and has an “outperform” rating on the stock. Other analysts also rushed to adjust their price targets: RBC’s Mike Abramsky lifted Apple’s price target to $350 from $275 with an “outperform” rating, JP Morgan’s Mark Moskowitz upped price target to $316 from $305 with an “overweight” rating, Canacoord Adams’ Peter Misek raised price target to $325 from $300 with a “buy” rating, and Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster increased price target to $323 from $287 with an “overweight” rating.

After the huge success of the iPhone, Apple’s next big bet is the iPad, and sales of the device have so far exceeded the company’s expectations. “We think the market size for the iPad is very large, and we want to capitalize on our first mover advantage,” Cook told analysts during the firm’s conference call yesterday. (VancouverSun)

Component makers stand to profit from strong demand for the iPad. Prior to Apple’s earnings release, iSuppli estimated Apple will sell 7.1 million iPads globally this year, and 20.1 million by 2010. (AZ Central) But now Bloomberg quotes an iSuppli analyst as saying that LG Display, Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) and Seiko Epson, Apple’s Asian LCD suppliers, simply can’t keep up with demand, owing to low yields on the particular size of screen Apple needs.

IPad’s wireless chipset is sourced from Germany’s Infineon Technologies (IFX) and industry experts said Infineon could make around $10 per iPad sold. Infineon rallied today on Apple’s strong results and speculation over a possible takeover by Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).

“I think it’s very unlikely that Intel are going to go and buy Infineon,” said Richard Windsor, global technology specialist at Nomura, told Reuters. He cited the fact that Intel had made expensive wireless acquisitions in the past but ended up selling many of the assets after failing to integrate them into its business.

However, Theo Kitz, technology analyst at private German bank Merck Finck, said “It would make sense to buy Infineon. A simple majority is all that’s needed.” he said.

Apple is also reportedly buying NAND flash memory from both Samsung and Japan’s Toshiba Corp. (OTCPK:TOSBF) (Wall Street Journal)

IPad batteries are made by Amperex Technology, a Hong Kong-based company that is a unit of Japan’s TDK Corp. (TDK) (SpendMatters)

An analysis by teardown firm Chipworks has also identified chips in the iPad from suppliers such as Cirrus Logic Inc (NASDAQ:CRUS), Atmel Corp (NASDAQ:ATML), Linear Technology Corp (NASDAQ:LLTC), Intersil Corp (NASDAQ:ISIL) and STMicroelectronics NV. (NYSE:STM) (Reuters)

Other iPad suppliers include Taiwan touch-screen makers Wintek and Sintek Photronic Corp. and the key manufacturer is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., or Foxconn Technology, which also assembles iPhones and iPods for Apple.

Macquarie Securities analyst Charlie Lu said he expects tablet computers, most of them iPads, to account for 10 percent of Wintek’s revenue this year. Wintek also produces touch screens for the iPhone and Apple products make up about 30 percent of the company’s revenue. (WSJ)

Following the round of analyst upgrades of Apple, can some of its suppliers be far behind?