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Axcelis Technologies, Inc. (ACLS)

  • Tue, May 5, 6:18 PM
    • On top of beating Q1 estimates, Axcelis (NASDAQ:ACLS) is guiding for Q2 revenue of $69M-$74M, soundly above a $65.6M consensus. EPS guidance is at $0.02-$0.04 vs. a $0.02 consensus. The cash balance is expected to rise to $80M from $74.5M at the end of Q1.
    • System sales rose 42.3% Y/Y in Q1, soundly exceeding total revenue growth of 17.2%. CEO Mary Puma asserts Axcelis "made excellent progress toward our market share goals due to rising Purion [implanter] platform sales, including both new penetrations and multiple follow on orders, and growth in the memory and non-leading edge foundry and logic segments." The company announced multiple major Purion orders in April.
    • Shares have jumped to $2.85 AH. The 52-week high is $2.94.
    • Q1 results, PR
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  • Tue, Apr. 21, 12:24 PM
    • ASML (ASML +1.5%), ASM International (ASMI +2.4%), Axcelis (ACLS +5.2%), and Rudolph Technologies (RTEC +2.3%) have joined Applied Materials and KLA-Tencor in trading higher after fellow chip equipment maker Lam Research (LRCX +8.2%) beat FQ3 estimates and provided strong FQ4 sales, EPS, and shipment guidance.
    • On its CC (transcript), Lam mentioned demand from DRAM clients - Axcelis has strong exposure to them - remains solid thanks to 20nm process investments, and that it expects growing 2H15 3D NAND flash investments.
    • Foundry equipment spend is expected to be down slightly Y/Y in 2015 - TSMC recently cut its capex budget - and logic spend roughly flat in spite of Intel's capex budget cut. In spite of the Intel/TSMC cuts, Lam is maintaining its general outlook for chip equipment spend.
    • CEO Martin Anstice argued Lam will be competing for over 30% of chip equipment spend by 2017 (up from 28.5% today) as tech "inflections" related to multi-patterning, 3D chips, and advanced packaging - Lam claims to have a 50%+ share in these areas - drive share gains in the broader deposition, etching, and cleaning equipment markets.
    • ASML remains below where its traded before the company slightly missed Q1 estimates, reported soft bookings (-26% Q/Q to €1.03B), and offered light Q2 guidance (revenue of €1.6B vs. a €1.69B consensus) on April 15. The photolithography equipment giant remains cautious about the adoption of EUV tools at the 10nm node (set to ramp in 2016/2017), but adds its "confidence has gone up" thanks to the improved performance of its 3300 series EUV systems.
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  • Tue, Apr. 7, 1:02 PM
    • An Asian foundry has placed a follow-on order for Axcelis' (NASDAQ:ACLS) Purion XE high-energy implanter for a 300mm (12") wafer fab. The system is set to ship in Q2.
    • Shares jumped last week after Axcelis announced a major Purion H implanter order from an Asian DRAM client. They're now only $0.30 away from a 52-week high of $2.94.
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  • Wed, Apr. 1, 11:27 AM
    • Axcelis (NASDAQ:ACLS) has received a follow-on order for its Purion H high-current ion implanter from "one of the world's leading manufacturers of DRAM devices in the Asia Pacific region." Samsung and SK Hynix are the two most plausible buyers.
    • The order covers multiple fabs, with each receiving Purion H systems in Q2. Axcelis declares the win highlights "the advantages the Purion H provides for next generation planar and 3D device manufacturing, especially for materials modification implants," and that Purion's "scanned spot beam is the only technology available today specifically designed to support these new applications by taking precision process control to the next level to enhance device yield."
    • During its Q4 earnings CC, Axcelis reported seeing strong Purion H demand from Korean memory makers, and stated six Purion H systems had been installed for memory applications since last July. More recently, the company was one of a slew of chip equipment makers to sell off on a JPMorgan report stating Samsung is slowing down its DRAM investments.
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  • Thu, Mar. 26, 10:50 AM
    • The Philadelphia Semi Index (SOXX -1.8%) is now down 6% over the last two days. Today's losses come after NAND flash giant SanDisk issued a Q1 warning and withdrew its full-year guidance - price pressure, soft enterprise sales, and delayed product qualifications were all blamed.
    • Meanwhile, some are partly blaming yesterday's big selloff on cautious remarks from TSMC (has an estimated ~50% global foundry share) at a Credit Suisse conference. CS analyst Randy Abrams reports TSMC (NYSE:TSM) has observed "a slowdown in the past 4-5 weeks due to US$ strength impacting European and emerging market purchasing power," and that inventories "will be a few days above seasonal exiting 1Q15." Pac Crest downgraded TSMC two weeks ago on inventory concerns.
    • Following an Asian trip, Susquehanna's Chris Caso has argued there isn't too much to be alarmed about, though he admits forex could be an issue. "There’s mixed signals here and there. We weren’t picking up anything that was tremendously different across the supply chain. PCs were the weakest area. That’s really not a surprise."
    • RF chipmakers Skyworks (SWKS -4.6%) and Qorvo (QRVO -2.1%), among 2014's best performers, are again selling off; peer Avago is off only slightly. Also seeing further profit-taking are Ambarella (AMBA -3%), NXP (NXPI -3.6%), Freescale (FSL -2.8%), Cavium (CAVM -3.2%), and STMicroelectronics (STM -4.5%).
    • Among equipment makers, Axcelis (ACLS -2.9%), Aixtron (AIXG -3.6%), Veeco (VECO -3%), and Kulicke & Soffa (KLIC -2.5%) are declining. A selloff in European equities could be affecting Aixtron, NXP/Freescale, and STMicro.
    • Update: Credit Suisse, Goldman, and Deutsche have each offered thoughts on the chip selloff.
  • Wed, Mar. 18, 11:16 AM
    • JPMorgan reports Samsung is slowing down the pace of its DRAM capacity ramp. The firm reiterates an Overweight rating and $40 target on Micron (MU +0.8%), whose shares have been hit more than once by Samsung spending fears.
    • While Micron edges higher, chip equipment maker Lam Research (LRCX -4.3%), which has considerable DRAM exposure, is selling off. Mattson (MTSN -11.8%), Aixtron (AIXG -1.9%), and Axcelis (ACLS -1.1%), other equipment makers that have DRAM exposure, are also lower. Mattson dived around 11AM after initially posting moderate losses.
    • Lam, a David Einhorn favorite, offered upbeat commentary about 2015 DRAM capex on its FQ2 CC (transcript), and noted 30% industry bit growth is expected this year.
    • Also: 1) Drexel Hamilton has made upbeat comments about DRAM demand after talking with an unnamed Asian memory maker; the firm expects mobile DRAM demand to restore a supply/demand balance later this year. 2) Jefferies (Buy) has cut its Micron target by $5 to $40, predicting Q1 DRAM pricing weakness will continue into Q2 due soft PC demand, before smartphone demand and "corrective actions on the supply side" lead prices to stabilize.
    • Yesterday: Micron drops on RBC target cut
  • Fri, Feb. 6, 5:09 PM
    • In addition to beating Q4 estimates, Axcelis (NASDAQ:ACLS) guided on its CC (transcript) for Q1 revenue of $65M-$70M and EPS of $0.00-$0.02, above a consensus of $52.2M and -$0.02. At the midpoint, the revenue guidance implies 11% Y/Y growth.
    • Strong demand for Axcelis' Purion H high-current ion implanter from Korean memory industry clients (likely Samsung and Hynix) is driving growth. CEO Mary Puma stated Axcelis has "installed six Purion H systems in multiple fabs for memory applications" since July, and has "several Purion H orders in backlog with expected shipments in Q1 and Q2."
    • She added interest remains high in the mid-current Purion M implanter, and that the Purion XE high-energy implanter "continues to penetrate new customers in non memory applications" such as sensors, power management chips, and specialty logic ICs. EVP Doug Lawson mentioned Axcelis is aiming for "the placement of at least one Purion H evaluation unit at a leading edge foundry or logic customer this year."
    • Shares closed up 3.9%, making new 52-week highs along the way.
    • Q4 results, PR
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  • Sep. 18, 2014, 12:45 PM
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  • Aug. 27, 2014, 1:44 PM
    • Stifel has launched coverage on Axcelis (ACLS +5.8%) with a Buy and $3 target.
    • The launch comes 7 weeks after the chip equipment maker announced (along with a Q2 warning) it has hired Blackstone to evaluate "financing and strategic alternatives."
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  • Aug. 26, 2014, 5:35 PM
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  • Jul. 8, 2014, 1:39 PM
    • Axcelis (ACLS) now expects Q2 revenue of $40M-$42M and EPS of -$0.05 to -$0.07, below prior guidance of $55M-$60M and -$0.02 to $0.00. Consensus is at $56.3M and -$0.01.
    • The chip equipment maker blames "late-quarter system push-outs at a time of overall muted customer spending." It's launching cost cuts aimed at lowering quarterly opex to $17M-$18M from a prior $20M-$21M, and says it has hired Blackstone to help evaluate "financing and strategic initiatives."
    • Axcelis' warning comes as peer Lam Research offers an upbeat analyst day outlook. Industry analyst Robert Maire thinks Axcelis could be a canary in the coal mine for chip equipment firms, many of whom have rallied sharply this year. Needham, however, thinks the warning stems from Axcelis' "high reliance on the small high-energy ion implant market."
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  • Jul. 8, 2014, 12:46 PM
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  • Apr. 24, 2014, 1:42 PM
    • Lam Research (LRCX +11%) beat FQ3 estimates and guided on its CC (transcript) for FQ4 revenue of $1.19B-$1.29B and EPS of $1.14-$1.28, above a consensus of $1.16B and $1.09. Ultratech (UTEK +3.6%) missed Q1 estimates, but has reiterated guidance for 25%-30% 2014 revenue growth (above a 23.5% consensus).
    • Just as importantly for the industry, Lam has forecast the global wafer fab equipment market will be worth $32B in 2014 - $1B more than what Gartner previously forecast.
    • Lam also mentioned it has "seen some strengthening" in DRAM equipment orders - clients have been conservative with their capex following industry consolidation - and a "sustained commitment" among logic/foundry clients (Intel and TSMC?) to advanced processes (20nm, 3D transistors, etc.). However, there have been "some slight delays" in 3D NAND flash investments.
    • Chip equipment peers are also up: AMAT +1.4%. KLAC +1.5%. ASML +2.1%. ACLS +1.6%. CAMT +5.3%. RTEC +1.5%. PLAB +3.4%. One notable exception is Teradyne (TER -4.1%), which provided light Q2 EPS guidance - $0.36-$0.43 vs. a consensus of $0.49 - to go with a Q1 beat. Revenue guidance is in-line.
    • The group sold off last week after ASML offered soft guidance and a cautious 2H outlook. KLA reports after the bell.
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  • Apr. 16, 2014, 11:40 AM
    • ASML (ASML -5.5%) has lowered its 1H14 sales outlook. Moreover, the lithography equipment kingpin says logic IC customers are "encountering timing uncertainties in next-generation device designs" for 2H, and that NAND flash memory makers are "continuing their evaluation of [3D] NAND and future-node planar technologies, resulting in uncertainties for system demand."
    • ASML's remarks about logic customers might partly be a reference to Intel, which has reportedly delayed the launch of its 14nm Broadwell CPUs. NAND vendors have been keeping a lid on capex for some time; recent price pressure might encourage them to do so.
    • Chip equipment peers Applied Materials (AMAT -2%), KLA-Tencor (KLAC -2.5%), Lam Research (LRCX -2.5%), Axcelis (ACLS -2.6%), Camtek (CAMT -5.8%), and Ultratech (UTEK -0.9%) are off in sympathy. Compared with many other tech companies, the group has held up well during the March/April selloff.
    • One silver lining: ASML says multiple customers are qualifying 10nm EUV lithography equipment, and that it expects to recognize revenue on 8 EUV systems in 2014. Investments in both EUV and 450mm wafers have been delayed.
    • Gartner has forecast chip wafer fab equipment spend will grow 14.9% in 2014 to $31B, after falling 9.1% in 2013.
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  • Jan. 9, 2014, 9:11 AM
  • Oct. 2, 2013, 9:11 AM
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Company Description
Axcelis Technologies Inc designs, manufactures and services ion implantation and other processing equipment used in the fabrication of semiconductor chips. It also provides aftermarket lifecycle products and services.