RF Micro Devices Is Primed for Growth

Radio frequency chips manufacturer RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ: RFMD  ) has reported terrific revenue and earnings growth over the past couple of quarters. The presence of key customers like Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF  ) , Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) , and Nokia has fueled RF Micro's impressive growth, and the company has handsomely exceeded analysts' earnings estimates in recent times.

Another beat in the cards
An average positive earnings surprise of 70% in the past year has translated into share price gains around 66% in the same period.  Moreover, the launch of the latest iPhones has stoked further optimism about RF Micro's prospects. Analysts are of the opinion that the company has gained more dollar content in Apple's latest flagship. 

As such, it won't be surprising if RF Micro again beats consensus expectations next week when it releases its second-quarter results. Analysts expect earnings of $0.10 per share on revenue of $308 million. But, RF Micro should be able to meet these estimates as it had guided for revenue of $305 million-$310 million and earnings of $0.10-$0.11 per share last time.

A big catalyst
Investors can expect another quarter of strong performance from RF Micro while sunny guidance is a possibility. According to Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley, RF Micro has gained share in not just Apple's latest smartphones, but also at Samsung and other device makers. RF Micro is probably providing the main antenna switch in the iPhone 5s and 5c, according to Walkley, winning the slot from Peregrine Semiconductor

RF Micro has been a regular supplier of radio frequency modules to Apple, and it kept its slot this time as well. Now, Reuters forecasts that Apple has already sold 33 million-36 million iPhones in the quarter that ended in September, and the expectation for the quarter ending in December is a hefty 50 million.

Apple had sold 26.9 million iPhones in the quarter containing September last year, followed by 47.8 million in the quarter containing December. Hence, an increase in iPhone sales bodes well for RF Micro since Apple is one of its top two customers.  

More positives here
Samsung happens to be RF Micro's largest customer, accounting for 22% of revenue in fiscal 2013. Recent news regarding sales of the flagship Galaxy S4 isn't encouraging, as sales dropped to 5 million units for the month of August, but this shouldn't be much of a problem for RF Micro. The company supplies power amplifier modules to Samsung, not just for the S4, but for its other related devices like the Note II and Note 3.  

Sales of the Note series of devices have also been strong -- with cumulative sales exceeding 40 million -- and RF Micro's presence across different Samsung devices is advantageous. More importantly, the fact that the company counts both Apple and Samsung as customers is also a positive.

RF Micro investors will be happy to see that Nokia, its biggest client a couple of years back, is also making some progress through Windows Phones. Nokia accounted for 14% of revenue in fiscal 2012, but the share has probably come down as RF Micro's other accounts have grown. But, Windows Phones sales have been growing, primarily driven by Nokia.

Windows Phones market share reached 9.2% across five key European markets in the three months ending in August, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Nokia's introduction of the Lumia 520 and 620 devices, primarily aimed at the mid-range market that looks for functionality at a decent price, has aided the growth of the platform. 

Apart from these well-known smartphone makers, RF Micro also expects the deployment of TD-LTE in China to provide further tailwinds. RF Micro has probably recorded design wins at a few Chinese smartphone companies. The company might also generate revenue from Huawei and ZTE, in addition to a few other OEMs in the region. 

The takeaway
RF Micro Devices is up 35% this year. But, the stock still trades at a pretty cheap 10.4 times forward earnings. The company looks well-positioned to benefit from its products' presence in Samsung devices and Apple's latest phones, as well as from smartphone growth in China. As such, RF Micro looks like a good deal at current levels, as it isn't too expensive on a forward basis and looks to have good prospects.

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