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Chipmaker TriQuint Semiconductor (UNKNOWN: TQNT.DL ) has executed a terrific turnaround in 2013. The stock had a topsy-turvy ride in 2012 and lost momentum as the year progressed. But, TriQuint had set itself up nicely for success in 2013, and its year-to-date gain of close to 70% is proof of that the company's strategies have worked well.
Key clients such as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) and Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF ) have played their part in aiding TriQuint's growth. The company is rapidly marching toward posting a profit in the current fiscal year, as management had promised earlier this year. All in all, TriQuint has had a successful year, but will it be able to carry the momentum into 2014?
Apple: The big catalyst
TriQuint has seen strong order patterns in the last three quarters. In the last reported quarter, TriQuint's order book had a book-to-bill ratio of 1.11. In fact, TriQuint's book-to-bill ratio has exceeded 1 in every quarter this fiscal year, which means that the company is seeing more orders than it can satisfy. Thus, it seems to have built up a healthy backlog going into the New Year.
Much of the backlog TriQuint had accumulated at the end of the last quarter can be attributed to Apple contractor Foxconn, which accounted for 35% of revenue. TriQuint provides its power amplifier modules for the current iPhone line-up and the iPad Air, which is why investors can expect a robust performance in the early stages of 2014.
Foxconn was reportedly producing the iPhone 5s at a run rate of 500,000 units per day, according to The Wall Street Journal, earlier this month. It can be assumed, then, that TriQuint has continued to see strong demand from Apple even during the final quarter of the year.
In addition, the latest iPad Air also seems to be gaining good traction. According to Localytics, the iPad Air was the best selling device over the Black Friday shopping weekend. iPad Air activations jumped 51% over the preceding weekend, followed by iPad Mini and iPhone 5c activations, which increased 26%.
Total iPad sales are expected to hit almost 25 million this quarter, according to Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley. For the first quarter of 2014, Barclays expects Apple to ship 19 million-20 million iPads. Thus, TriQuint should continue seeing strong demand from its key customer.
Samsung and more
Once the latest iDevices are past their peak quarter, Samsung seems poised to become the next growth driver. TriQuint has supplied chips to Samsung for its last two flagship smartphones. The trend could continue in the New Year as well, since TriQuint management stated that it is better positioned with Samsung in 2014 than it has been in the current year.
The launch of the next Samsung flagship can be a big driver for TriQuint, as the South Korean giant would look to get back at Apple and push up sales. In fact, certain media outlets such as CNET report that Samsung may include an eye scanner in the next Galaxy smartphone in an effort to get ahead of Apple's Touch ID.
Moreover, Samsung is reportedly expecting a 20% year-over-year increase in smartphone sales in 2014 to 360 million units, out of which 35% are expected to be premium handsets. This is a big number, and TriQuint's growing presence at Samsung should help it benefit from this increase.
Looking ahead, the roll out of LTE across the globe represents a big opportunity for TriQuint. Management believes that LTE deployment is still in its early stages, and LTE-enabled handset penetration is just 20% of the global smartphone market. LTE deployment would result in a higher number of frequency bands, which is why TriQuint's radio frequency filters would come in handy, as they prevent interference among signals.
The mobile segment accounts for 72% of TriQuint's overall revenue, and it has been growing at a rapid pace. In the previous quarter, mobile revenue was up 43% year-over-year on the back of the iPhone ramp and strong demand for LTE products.Hence, with two major mobile customers on its side, and the expected growth of LTE-enabled devices going forward, TriQuint looks well-positioned for both 2014 and the long run.
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