How Much Upside Potential Does Atmel Still Have?

by: Kinetic Investments

Atmel Corp (NASDAQ:ATML) currently trades at $13.91, sporting a P/E of 56. The stock has been on a "parabolic" six month, 202% run since its 07/02/10 close of $4.60. There have been a dozen new 52 week highs in the last month alone. How much upside potential could possibly remain for this semiconductor and touch screen solutions company? Some would say plenty.

In a world that has demonstrated its desire to liberate itself from the confines of the PC, Atmel is well positioned to capitalize on the movement and lead its peers into the future. Their exposure to the ever-growing mobile handset and tablet markets is, in a word, impressive.

In May of 2010, Atmel introduced the world's smallest flash microcontroller package. What does that mean? From an Atmel press release:

"This new package offering will strengthen Atmel's leadership in the microcontroller market," said Ingar Fredriksen, AVR Product Marketing Director. "In addition to being 55 percent smaller than any other 6-/8-pin Flash microcontroller in the market, the ATtiny4, ATtiny5, ATtiny9 and ATtiny10 devices deliver six times higher processing speed than the closest competitor."

And what does that mean? Simple, really. They are more powerful and can fit into much smaller spaces, which is of critical importance to the makers of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet devices.

Mobile device maker, Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF), uses Atmel's technologies in an array of its products, perhaps most importantly, Samsung's Galaxy Tab. Some have suggested that the Galaxy is the first tablet device to pose a real competitive threat to the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. This is in no small part due to their touch screen controllers, which Atmel designed, developed, and manufactured.

Atmel's maXTouch controller won the electronic product of the year at the 2010 British Engineering Excellence awards ceremony. More recently, they received an award for their AT32UC3L product. As they gain market share while continuing to invest in the development and manufacturing of user and future friendly products for mobile devices, Atmel's sky seems to know no limits.

When will this stock find a hard ceiling? Your guess is as good as mine. I wouldn't ask anyone that has been waiting the last six months for a major pullback, though. They are likely to continue to watch the proverbial "ship" grow smaller on the horizon with each passing trading day.

Disclosure: I am long ATML, AAPL.