CLSA's GTAT downgrade focuses on yields/margins; GLW higher

|About: GT Advanced Technologies, Inc. (GTATQ)|By:, SA News Editor

Following a CC with compound semi consulting firm Yole Development about GT Advanced's (GTAT -2.4%) supply deal with Apple, CLSA's Mark Heller reports Yole believes at least one iPhone featuring sapphire cover glass will launch next month. However, it also thinks GT and Apple's sapphire finishing suppliers "are still struggling with yields."

Yole estimates Apple's all-in sapphire cost is at a steep $25 for a 4.7" display, assuming a 30% growth yield and 60% finishing yield - that's over 8x the $3 cost estimate other analysts have provided for Gorilla Glass (GLW +1.5%) panels. GT is assigned an $8.90 ASP.

At the same time, Yole thinks costs could drop to $16 if growth and finishing yields respectively improve to 60% and 75%, boosting GT's margins along the way.

Heller writes Yole's base scenario suggests only 4.7M 4.7" sapphire displays, or 3M 5.5" displays, will be available by September.  Worth noting: With Apple having reportedly placed orders for 70M-80M iPhone 6 units, those numbers appear conservative in the event at least one of the models fully uses sapphire.

Corning is moving higher. The company stated last month Gorilla Glass sales have been hurt by "lower-than-expected sales for planned new models."

Earlier: CLSA downgrades GT Advanced to Underperform