Novaled claims its PIN OLED doping tech allows for fewer manufacturing process steps, low driving voltages, and greater design flexibility.
Universal Display (OLED -9.2%) shares aren't taking the news well. Universal remains very dependent on Samsung's materials purchases and (fixed-fee) licensing payments for now. It's counting on expected manufacturing ramps from AU Optronics, Innolux, and LG Display, among others, to help lower its dependence.
Samsung (SSNLF.PK) is set to announce Galaxy S4 shipments have topped 20M, reports Korean news site iNews24. If true, that would mean the milestone was reached a little over 2 months after sales began, and about 5 weeks after shipments crossed 10M. For reference, it took 100 days for Galaxy S III shipments to top 20M. Though shipments could be notably higher than end-user sales if channel inventory is building up, the report (if accurate) might soothe fears of weak demand (spurred by multiple build order cut reports) a little bit. Suppliers with strong exposure: QCOM, BRCM, SYNA, RFMD, ANAD, OLED.
LG Display (LPL -0.9%) expects to mass-produce a flexible OLED panel for major smartphone clients in Q4. 38% shareholder LG Electronics is likely one of those clients - the company has already said to plans to sell a flexible OLED phone by year's end. Samsung was at one point expected to use a flexible OLED in its upcoming Galaxy Note III, but is believed to have changed its mind due to production issues. Universal Display (PANL -2.1%) is hoping the technology takes off sooner rather than later. (Samsung demo)
With the help of Qualcomm (QCOM) silicon supporting the LTE-Advanced standard, Samsung (SSNLF.PK) is set to release a version of the Galaxy S4 that can deliver twice the download speeds of current models. GigaOm isn't too impressed, pointing out Samsung appears to be adopting a simple version of LTE-Advanced that offers a technique for pooling spectrum bands (carrier aggregation). Meanwhile, Reuters points out many analysts have lowered their S4 sales estimates to ~7M/month from a prior ~10M/month, following order cut reports. That could be pressuring Universal Display's (PANL -1.5%) shares. Qualcomm has an early lead in supporting LTE-Advanced, but Broadcom (BRCM) and Nvidia (NVDA) aren't far behind (I, II).
Maxim joins JPMorgan and Susquehanna in reporting of Galaxy S4 weakness: analyst Ashok Kumar says Samsung (SSNLF.PK) is cutting shipments due to weak sales and rising channel inventory, and that checks indicate consumers are opting for the cheaper Galaxy S III. He thinks touch controller supplier Synaptics (SYNA -2.7%) could be affected; others possibly at risk include ATML, RFMD, BRCM, PANL, TQNT, ANAD, and SWKS. As far as suppliers go, much still depends on how much demand is simply shifting to mid-range phones, or to rival high-end devices such as HTC's One, Sony's Xperia Z, LG's Optimus G, and Lenovo's K900.
Samsung (SSNLF.PK) suppliers are lower following reports the company has cut Galaxy S4 orders due to soft European/Korean demand, and is trying to lower sales expectations. In addition to Qualcomm, Audience (ADNC -6.5%), Skyworks (SWKS -2.2%), TriQuint (TQNT -1.4%), Universal Display (PANL -1%), and Synaptics (SYNA -5.1%) are off. Assuming the reports are accurate, one unanswered question is how much of the shortfall is due to weak industry demand (Cowen just claimed European smartphone sales are improving), and how much is due to a mix shift to cheaper phones and/or an intensely competitive Android phone market. If it's mostly the latter, some suppliers could still fare well.
Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has been meeting with investors to temper Galaxy S4 expectations, and the consensus for Q2 and Q3 S4 sales has fallen to 20M/quarter from a prior 25M and 30M, writes Susquehanna. The firm adds Samsung is now placing a greater emphasis on mid-range sales (Chinese OEMs have been competing aggressively here), and sees lower S4 estimates as a negative for Broadcom (BRCM) and Maxim (MXIM). PANL, RFMD, SYNA, and ANAD could also be affected. On the flip side, Canaccord believes S4 sales have passed iPhone sales at Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile USA, and RBC offered an upbeat forecast last week.
Galaxy S4 sales will top 20M in Q2 and 80M by year's end, estimates RBC, citing checks indicating strong U.S. demand. If Samsung (SSNLF.PK) pulls that off, it would be on its way to hitting its target of 100M lifetime sales. RBC also expects industry smartphone sales to rise 27% this year to 870M, and 20% in 2014 to 1B+. Meanwhile, a Russian site reports Samsung's June 20 London event will reveal the Galaxy S4 Zoom, a 4.3" phone sporting a 16MP camera with a 10x optical zoom, and the Galaxy S4 Active, a water/dust-proof S4 variant sporting a Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon 600 CPU. Samsung's just-launched S4 Mini uses a Snapdragon 400. Other S4 suppliers: PANL, SYNA, ATML, RFMD, BRCM, ANAD, SWKS, TQNT.
Universal Display (PANL +2.4%) finished higher after a couple of pieces of OLED-related news arrived: 1) A Taiwanese paper reports Apple is testing 1.5" OLEDs for use in the long-rumored iWatch. 2) LG Display (LPL) is showing off a 55" OLED TV and (more intriguingly) a 5" flexible OLED panel for mobile devices at this week's Display Week 2013 conference. Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Note 3 has been expected to sport a flexible OLED, but a recent report stated this won't happen due to mass-production challenges.
Margins and pricing were in focus as the sell-side dissected Universal Display's (PANL -17.3%) Q1 results. Contractual volume discounts to Samsung for red emitter materials (the result of volume milestones being hit) resulted in margins missing expectations (and EPS only being in-line in spite of a revenue beat). Some firms, such as Avondale and Piper, are worried this will be a continued headwind. Others, such as Needham and Gabelli, argue surging green emitter sales (they more than tripled in Q1 to $7.7M thanks to the Galaxy S4 ramp) will offset red emitter weakness (sales -38% Q/Q in Q1 to $4.3M). (earlier) (transcript)
Universal Display (PANL -12.1%) is now tumbling in the wake of its Q1 report and guidance reiteration. Investors may have wanted a guidance hike in light of strong early demand for Samsung's (SSNLF.PK) Galaxy S4. Also: materials cost rose by $2M Q/Q, something partly attributed on the earnings call to a mix shift (to green emitters?) and higher materials cost, and (in response to a question about slumping red emitter sales) PANL admitted customers are using materials more efficiently. On the bright side, management noted reports indicate Samsung's Galaxy Note III and an LG phone will feature flexible OLEDs; both are expected in Q4. (Lumia 928)
Universal Display (PANL): Q1 EPS of -$0.10 in-line. Revenue of $15M (+19% Y/Y) beats by $600K. Reiterates 2013 revenue guidance of $110M-$125M; consensus is at $119.6M. Shares +0.1% AH. CC at 5PM ET (webcast). (PR)