Knowles Corporation (KN) Q2 2019 Earnings Call Transcript

KN earnings call for the period ending June 30, 2019.

Motley Fool Transcribing
Motley Fool Transcribing
Jul 25, 2019 at 12:24AM
Consumer Goods
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Knowles Corporation (NYSE:KN)
Q2 2019 Earnings Call
Jul 24, 2019, 4:30 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Knowles Corporation's second quarter 2019 financial results conference call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator instructions] Here with the opening remarks is Knowles vice president of investor relations.

Mike Knapp, please go ahead.

Mike Knapp -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Thanks, Ian, and welcome to our Q2 2019 earnings call. I'm Mike Knapp, and presenting with me on the call today are Jeff Niew, our president and chief executive officer; and John Anderson, our senior vice president and chief financial officer. Our call today will include remarks about future expectations, plans and prospects for Knowles, which constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the Safe Harbor provisions under applicable federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements in this call will include comments about demand for company products, anticipated trends in company sales, expenses and profits and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

The company urges investors to review the risks and uncertainties in the company's SEC filings, included but not limited to the annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, periodic reports filed from time to time with the SEC and the risks and uncertainties identified in today's earnings release. All forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this call, and those disclaims any duty to update such statements except as required by law. In addition, pursuant to reg G, any non-GAAP financial measures referenced during today's call can be found in our press release posted on our website at knowles.com, including a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measures. All references on this call will be on a non-GAAP continuing operations basis unless otherwise indicated.

Also, we've made selective financial information available in webcast slides, which can be found in the Investor Relations section of our website. With that, let me turn the call over to Jeff, who will provide some details on our results. Jeff.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Mike, and thanks to all of you for joining us today. I'm pleased with our results in the first half of 2019 as we are making solid progress against our strategy to deliver high-value differentiated solutions to a diverse set of growing end markets. For Q2, we reported revenue of $205 million, at the high end of our guidance range and up 9% from the year-ago period due to better-than-expected sales of microphones and continued robust demand in precision devices. EPS of $0.22 was above the high end of our guidance range, driven by higher sales volume.

In our audio segment, Q2 revenue was up 5% from the year-ago period due to better than expected MEMS microphone sales into the ear and IoT markets and stabilized trends in mobility. Overall, revenue from audio comprised 78% of total sales in the second quarter. In the precision device segment, sales were up 24% from the year-ago period, hitting record levels for the sixth consecutive quarter due to continued demand for our differentiated products across multiple end markets and a tuck-in acquisition. Precision devices represented about 22% of total company revenue in the quarter.

Q2 sales in audio were better than anticipated as we realize the benefits of our diversified portfolio of solutions for the mobile ear and IoT markets. In mobile, demand for microphones improved sequentially in Q2 as we expected following an inventory correction at our largest customer in the prior quarter. In addition to stabilized mobile trends at this customer, we are seeing strong year-over-year growth in this OEM's non-mobile platforms and expect full-year revenue growth from this customer. Sales to Chinese OEMs were modestly lower than the year-ago period.

And while we are seeing a fair amount of volatility in this market, the positive macro trends continue to be in place for audio. Customers in this region are focused on improving audio through higher performance microphones, multi mic adoption, as well as enabling new features to our Intelligent Audio offerings. We expect modest growth in this region in 2019 and are optimistic about China in the future due to our opportunities to grow content per device. Now some details around Intelligent Audio.

We are expecting to see the debut of handsets which include our multi-core Audio Edge processors later this year. These processors are best in class in terms of performance and power and, together with our high performance acoustics, uniquely position us in this growing market. We will discuss more about the specific features our Edge processors enable once these handset are launched. We continue to expand our algorithm partner program and are now actively engaged with a broad group of software partners and several large OEMs that are developing their own algorithms for this platform.

This enables an impressive set of capabilities and use cases that only our open DSP platform can enable. OEMs place a premium having high performance and low-power offering that is open and enables new audio use cases. This is exactly what we are delivering. We remain optimistic about our opportunities for Intelligent Audio.

That said, 2019 revenues have been affected by the weakness in the mobile segment and the timing of handset launches incorporating Intelligent Audio. We now expect 2019 Intelligent Audio revenues to be between $20 million and $25 million. While these delays in product ramps have impacted 2019, we continue to see very good reception to our Audio Edge processors and look forward to providing deeper context around our DSP architecture and the TAM Intelligent Audio enables at our analyst day in September. We now expect to spend $30 million to $35 million in Intelligent Audio R&D in 2019, down from the previous estimate estimate of $38 million.

We will continue to be disciplined with our R&D investments across the company and believe that Intelligent Audio is an important growth opportunity, which has synergy with our acoustic products. Moving to ear and IoT, we were pleased to announce last quarter that we developed a new hands-free reference solution to enable our customers to build wireless headsets that allow users to talk directly to Alexa. The Knowles SmartMic Headset Development Kit for Alexa voice service brings users natural access by simply saying the Alexa wake word. The solution enables the industry's lowest power voice wake, which is necessary in a small battery-operated device.

In microphones for the ear, trends remain strong as customers add more mics and transition to our digital platforms. We expect customers to launch products this year for the ear market, where we have significant content gains driven by the adoption of multiple microphones, balanced armature receivers and Intelligent Audio solutions. I am optimistic about our opportunities in the ear market. In IoT, we are pursuing input opportunities across TVs, Bluetooth speakers and numerous other connected devices.

In our precision device segment, we continue to see strong sales growth from our high-performance capacitors and millimeter wave RF Solutions for a diverse set of end markets. This business is playing an essential role in our ability to increase exposure to fast-growing end markets and enhance shareholder value. Demand for our high-performance capacitors remains strong, particularly in defense, medical and telecom end markets. Despite a broader slowdown in commoditized capacitors, our differentiated solutions have seen sustained demand because they add significant value to our customers' mission-critical applications.

Our millimeter wave RF resolutions are seeing solid demand from the defense market for radar systems, which has been the primary driver of this product category today. We are now beginning to see initial orders for 5G millimeter wave base stations, which will serve as a large growth opportunity for us over the next several years. Just last month, T-Mobile announced that they had made the first 5G handsets available to customers to tap into LTE and millimeter wave high band spectrum simultaneously. We are at the very early stages of the 5G roll out.

And with the continued growth and military demand, we expect revenue from millimeter wave RF solutions to grow to over $100 million in 2021 from less than $20 million in 2018. Overall, our strategy to invest in high-value solutions and diversify our markets and customers is working, and the benefits of this strategy are reflected in our financial results. With that, I'll turn it over to John to expand on our financial results and provide our guidance for the third quarter. John?

John Anderson -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Jeff. We reported second-quarter revenues of $205 million, at the high end of our guidance range and up 9% from the year-ago period, driven by increased shipments in both the audio and precision device segments. Audio revenues of $160 million were up 5% from the year-ago period and higher than expected, driven by increased shipments of MEMS microphones into the ear and IoT markets. Microphone sales into the mobile market also stabilized following an inventory correction at our largest customer in Q1.

Intelligent Audio and Hearing Health sales remain consistent from the year-ago period. The precision device segment delivered record revenues for the sixth consecutive quarter. Revenues of $45 million were up 24% from the second quarter of 2018, which was the result of 18% organic growth, driven by strong demand for high-performance capacitors in the defense, medical and telecom markets and an acquisition completed in the first quarter of 2019. Second-quarter gross profit margins were approximately 38%, at the low end of our guidance range and 130 basis points below the year-ago period due to costs associated with the microphone warranty claim and an unfavorable customer and product mix within the audio segment.

Precision device gross margins were down 320 basis points compared with the second quarter of 2018 due to unfavorable product mix and higher raw material costs. Operating expenses in the quarter were $53 million, down 2% from the year-ago period due to reduced R&D and incentive compensation expense within the audio segment. For the quarter, adjusted EBIT margin was approximately 13%, at the high end of our guidance range and up more than 130 basis points from the second quarter of 2018 as we continue to deliver strong operating leverage and increased sales volume. Non-GAAP diluted EPS was $0.22, above our guidance range and up more than 20% over the second quarter of 2018.

Further information, including a detailed reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP results, is provided in the financial tables of today's press release and can also be found on our website at knowles.com. Now I'll turn to our balance sheet and cash flow. Cash and cash equivalents totaled $54 million at the end of Q2. For the second quarter, cash generated from operations was $22 million, above the high end of our guidance range due to better-than-expected earnings and lower-than-forecasted inventory levels.

Capital spending was $9 million in the quarter, below the low end of our guidance due to timing of spending within the year. Moving to the third quarter of 2019, we expect total company revenue to be between $225 million and $245 million. Revenue from the audio segment is expected to be between $185 million and $195 million, down slightly from Q3 2018 due to lower microphone shipments into the smartphone market, partially offset by higher shipments of mics in the ear and IoT and increased balanced armature receiver shipments. Precision device revenue is expected to be between $40 million and $50 million, up more than 20% over prior-year levels, driven by strong organic growth across defense, medical and telecom markets and the impact of an acquisition, which was completed earlier this year.

We project non-GAAP gross margin for the third quarter to be approximately 39% to 42%, up more than 200 basis points from the year-ago period, driven by favorable product mix, improved factory capacity utilization and productivity gains, partially offset by higher raw material cost in our precision device segment. R&D spending in Q3 is expected to be between $20 million and $22 million, down $2 million from prior-year levels due to optimization of R&D spending within the audio segment. We are projecting selling and administrative expense to be between $29 million and $31 million, up $1 million from the year-ago period due to higher anticipated outside legal expense. We are projecting adjusted EBIT margin for the quarter to be in the range of 18% to 20% and expect non-GAAP diluted EPS to be within a range of $0.35 to $0.41 per share.

This assumes weighted average shares outstanding during the quarter of 94.9 million on a fully diluted basis. We are forecasting an effective non-GAAP tax rate of 13% to 17% for the quarter. Please refer to our press release for a GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation. For the third quarter, we expect cash generated from operations to be between $40 million and $50 million and capital spending to be between $10 million and $20 million.

Full-year 2019 capital spending is expected to be between 6% and 7% of revenues. For the full year, we expect low to mid-single-digit revenue growth with gross profit margins of approximately 40%. R&D is expected to be slightly more than 10% of revenues, down slightly from both previous estimates and prior-year levels. SG&A is expected to be up 1% to 3%, and we are forecasting an effective non-GAAP tax rate to be between 13% and 17% for the full year.

I'll now turn the call back over to Jeff for closing remarks, and then we'll move to the Q&A portion of the call. Jeff?

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, John. Our 2Q results reaffirm that our strategy to invest in high-value differentiated solutions and diversify our end markets and customers is delivering shareholder value. As we continue through 2019, our company remains uniquely positioned. In audio, macro trends around better acoustic performance and Edge processing remain positive and are enabling us to increase our content per device.

In precision devices, sales reached record levels for the sixth consecutive quarter as we continue to deliver strong revenue and earnings growth, both organically and through tuck-in acquisitions. I'm increasingly confident that we can drive revenue growth with strong operating leverage in 2019 and beyond. Operator, we can now take questions.


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Questions & Answers:


Operator

[Operator instructions] Your first question comes from the line of Harsh Kumar. Your line is open.

Harsh Kumar -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Yes. Hey, guys, congratulations. It seems like you guys are executing just about as well as the company can in this tough environment. Jeff, from what I remember, this is the first time you're really highlighting BA, balanced armatures in your guide and kind of seem to talk about it a little bit more than the context of its arriving or it has arrived.

I was curious if you can just maybe give us some more color around what you're seeing in that market, if you're actually seeing these things going to handsets or is this pretty much a headset sort of a phenomena still?

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. So, I don't want to steal too much thunder, Harsh, here from our analyst day that's coming up in September. I'll give a little set there about the analyst day. But I mean, we've been selling BAs, and it's an ear product, into the hearing health market and actually into niche high-end headsets for many, many, many years.

I think what we're seeing changing in the marketplace, Harsh, is that there's this move toward these TWS, true wireless headsets, in the ear that are extremely small in size. And the big benefit, as you think of these true wireless headsets, Harsh, is that they're starting to look more and more like hearing aids. And why do guys use these devices in hearing aids? Because the size is so small, allowing you to pack more stuff in, or more technology and more features into each ear. So just give a couple of examples that we keep hearing, balanced armatures are interesting, I can make my battery larger.

It will lengthen the battery life of the device. Balanced armatures are smaller, I can add more sensors to the device, creating more space. So we're pretty excited about this opportunity. Now I would say is there's going to be some customers in 2019 that are going to start, you're going to start seeing with balanced armatures.

But we really see this as more of a 2020 story that, again, we're going to lay out some pretty good detail on this, more detail on this at the analyst day.

Harsh Kumar -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Hey, Jeff, one more on that one. My understanding is you're kind of the leader in this particular space. Maybe you could give us a sense of competitive, if anybody else that's out there that does this for a living?

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, I mean, there are some competitors out there that come from the hearing aid side of the business and that have been around for a while. I think what makes this kind of different here, Harsh, is that we've been selling in the commercial space, so our MEMS microphone business, for many, many, years, coupled with our capabilities understanding the hearing health market stuff that things are very small in the ear. So, I mean, I would say that the way we see the future is, there's going to be opportunities for us. I'm sure there's going to be some competitors in here, but I think we're very uniquely positioned in the fact that we have the balanced armature, we're very strong on the microphone side, which let's not forget on the microphone side that's pretty exciting as well.

We're starting to see TWS headsets come out with three microphones per ear. So that's pretty exciting. And of course we have the Intelligent Audio opportunity as well.

Harsh Kumar -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Sure. Great. And I wanted to ask you about China as well. Some companies are now beginning to come out, Jeff, and talk about shipping to China.

Are you, or at least Huawei, sorry. Are you able to do so? And to what degree is that baked in into the guide?

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So, Harsh, a lot of our products that are, or most of our products are made outside the U.S. and we have been shipping all along to these customers, to Huawei specifically. They're not covered by the ban. For the few products that we have that are made in the U.S., we will be applying for licenses and we'll see where that goes.

But regardless of the outcome on those licenses, we don't see it being material impact on our 2019 revenues. So for our perspective is 2019 is business as usual, and we don't see it having a big impact on our business.

Harsh Kumar -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Understood. Congrats guys. I'll get back in queue.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Suji Desilva. Your line is open.

Suji Desilva -- Roth Capital Partners , LLC -- Analyst

Hi, Jeff; hi, John. On the Intelligent Audio programs, the pushouts, can you talk about what the drivers there were and conversely what the design win pipeline that's coming to market in the second half '19 looks like in terms of maybe order of magnitude of design wins or things like that? Thanks.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Well, first let me say that I will say just more generally speaking and I would say obviously has an impact on the IA business. But to some extent on the microphone business as well, is that what we're seeing is, is that the high-end mobility platforms are not selling that well. I mean, we are seeing, and there's more demand I would say in the mid and lower tier of phones.

And as you look at our plan for IA within this year, a fair amount of that growth was coming from mobility and in the high-end platforms. So what we've kind of seen I would say, without going into the customer specifically, we've seen delays in introduction of phones. We've actually seen cancellations of entire phone platforms that were going to use the Intelligent Audio, as well as the platforms that were planning on using it, that the demand is down. So I mean, what I think about this is I'll tell you I'm very excited.

The multi-core DSP will be in a number of handsets in the near future, the next two, three months that will be introduced. And when that comes out, we're really excited to talk about what features this is enabling beyond just voice wake. Because there's a fair number of features it's enabling. So we're quite excited about that.

We're excited about the opportunities within IA, and I think we're going to take this time at the analyst day to really kind of dig in with our investors about why we're differentiated, why our architecture is differentiated and really lay out more about the TAM that enables the Intelligent Audio.

Suji Desilva -- Roth Capital Partners , LLC -- Analyst

Okay. I will look forward to that certainly. And you talked a lot about the headset opportunity, the earbud opportunity. Is there any way to talk about the Amazon-enabled sort of portion of that? And is share the right way to think about how well you're positioned relative to competitors, as Harsh just asked about? Or is there another way to think about how you're positioned in that earbud market because it is coming up pretty quickly it seems like to us.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I mean, I'm not going to comment on any specific customers, especially ones that don't have products in the market. We're not going to comment about that. But I guess what I would say is this.

If you think about our success in the hearing health market over the last 30, 40 years, we make very small speakers and we make very small high-performance, low-power microphones for the hearing health market. And what we're seeing here is that that demand or that request is coming exactly in these TWS headsets. And so we really feel like we're uniquely positioned in order to capitalize on this shift from over the ear to in the ear headsets.

Suji Desilva -- Roth Capital Partners , LLC -- Analyst

Okay. All right. Thanks guys.

Mike Knapp -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Thanks, Suji.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Anthony Stoss. Your line is open.

Anthony Stoss -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Hi guys. John, if you have it handy, do you know what percentage of revenues in Q2 was directly from handsets? And I have a couple of follow-ups.

John Anderson -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

You know, we don't really talk about it from a quarter standpoint, but we can tell it from a full-year standpoint. I mean, this really kind of supports our diversification. We think mobile end market will be right around 30% or less of our total revenues for Knowles in 2019. And that's coming from, you think when we spun it was more than two-thirds.

So it's really growth in ear, growth in IoT and growth in PD.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. And I think this year's kind of, I think I'll add a little color to this, Tony. I think we've been expecting this for a while, right? I mean, the mobile market is not growing. Now we have content gain opportunities in mobile still.

So I think when we think of like the peers that are selling to mobile, we do have content gain opportunities so it's not, mobile's probably quite not as bad as it is for some of our peers. But when you start talking about ear and IoT, you start talking about the balanced armature opportunity in the ear, you talk about millimeter wave and the high-performance capacitors, you know, we got a lot of growth factors here that are starting to really take over and drive down the total amount of sales that we have in mobile without dramatic reductions in mobile. I mean, I guess I'd make one more comment, Tony. A lot of times we talk about ear and IoT as a percentage of our microphone sales.

I think the last couple of quarters we had said it would be over 25%. We're now thinking it's going to be closer to 30% of our microphone sales will come from ear and IoT. So we're really optimistic about those markets.

Anthony Stoss -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Perfect segue into BAs. We're a big fan of your BAs, you've done a lot of work on it. Can you help us out what you expect gross margins to be? Is it accretive to the kind of 40% to 42% you're running right now as you see that ramp. Also, can help us understand what percentage of your CAPEX right now is going toward expanded BA production? And you think you're going to have enough here kind of late this year into early next?

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So I'll let John put a little color, but let me just make a comment. I mean, our expectation is that the BA, as we ramp, it will be at or above the corporate growth margin average. That would be, what I would sit there and say, is our expectation at this point. There's a big focus here on making sure that we have the right product at the right cost in order to support what I would call these higher-volume markets.

So I think that's a big focus of ours. But the question on CAPEX, maybe John wants to, you want to cover that, John?

John Anderson -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. In terms of CAPEX related to expanding our BA capacity, it will be roughly, I mentioned CAPEX this year would be 6% to 7% of revenues. Think of about 20% of this year's CAPEX would be going to BA capacity expansion that we'll have in place kind of in end of Q1 of 2020.

Anthony Stoss -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

And then as a follow-up, is it fair to assume for the September quarter guide with your North American handset customer you're playing it fairly conservative given what happened last year? I know it's tough to parse out phones versus others, but any color would be helpful.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I mean, I'm not going to make any specific comments to the customer's forecast. I mean, I would just point to go what analyst expectations are. Generally speaking, and I would say this is not a specific to that customer, but generally speaking, that the high-end handset market has been weak. And so I think I would say that we are not, we don't have overly high expectations from the high-end handset market for the rest of the year.

Anthony Stoss -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Mike Knapp -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Thanks, Tony.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Bob Labick. Your line is open.

Bob Labick -- CJS Securities -- Analyst

Good afternoon. Thanks for taking my questions. I wanted to stick with the ear market as we've been talking about a lot here. Can you just help us get some context? And maybe take a step back, excluding hearing health, about how big is the ear market for you right now? And kind of what changes over the next year or two with BA going into consumer products and stuff? And how big can that be? I'm having trouble trying to frame your non-hearing health ear sales.

If you could give us some way to think about that.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Okay. Bob, let me just take a step quick back, OK? So we sell microphones into the ear, not hearing health of course, and we also sell, what do you call it, BAs into the ear, non-hearing health. And we also are starting to see some Intelligent Audio sales into the ear, non-hearing health. And how we've kind of framed this, this is, again, I would say that ear and IoT combined will probably be in the neighborhood of, if I look at the numbers here on the wall here, somewhere between $140 million and $150 million.

So that's kind of the number that we're looking at.

Bob Labick -- CJS Securities -- Analyst

Got it. Okay. And roughly equal between those two, or is one predominant?

John Anderson -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

You mean ear versus IoT?

Bob Labick -- CJS Securities -- Analyst

Correct.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I mean, they're in the neighborhood or the same. They're about similar.

John Anderson -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

I would say the growth rate though, ear is clearly growing at a more rapid rate. IoT is plateauing a little bit. Still growing.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Still growing.

John Anderson -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

But at a slower rate.

Bob Labick -- CJS Securities -- Analyst

Okay. And then the opportunity for ear over the next two years as the TWS becomes more mainstream, how do you think about that?

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I'm going to punt on that one to the Investor Day, because that's a great topic segue to like where we think this business could go in the next 24 months or so.

Bob Labick -- CJS Securities -- Analyst

Okay, sounds good. We look forward to hearing you then. Thanks.

Mike Knapp -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Christopher Rolland. Your line is open.

David Haberle -- Susquehanna International Group -- Analyst

Hey, guys, it's David Haberle on behalf of Chris Rolland. Thanks for taking my questions, and very nice execution given the current environment. First question would be kind of a follow-up on Huawei. Has the conflict between the United States and Huawei influenced your share there at all yet? And how do you think about that long term? Is there any fears that they'll go more Chinese-based microphones in the future?

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I'm not going to comment at share of this specific customer. We typically don't do that. I guess what I would say is is that Huawei has been a good customer for us over the years. We continue to ship to them.

But again, as I kind of said earlier in the year, they're not a super large customer for us. We've said they're less than 5%. And so I think we offer some unique things that Huawei needs, and we're hopeful that we will continue to ship to them. We're hopeful that maybe we'll get approval on the licenses on the stuff that we make in the U.S., but we expect that we'll continue to be able to ship to them.

David Haberle -- Susquehanna International Group -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you. And then on the precision device segment, you guys have really been ramping over the past kind of two years there, and we've seen pockets of the capacitor market become supply constrained. And now subsequently, that's easing and we're seeing like reductions in inventory levels.

I guess, how are inventory levels for your specific precision device capacitors? And then also on the precision device segment, how much of this growth is kind of unit-driven versus price-driven?

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. So I think if you think about the business as we've just kind of described it, we've got our millimeter wave RF solutions. That is not being affected all by that general marketplace at all. Then we have our high-performance capacitor business, which there's telecom, there's medical, there's electric vehicle, there's defense and then there's industrial.

I would say there has been a little bit of impact on the industrial business. But as you can see, and we've talked about it, the high-performance capacitor business is still growing and we still believe that this is going to continue to grow because the markets that we're in, we have some very unique offerings that we are building in terms of long-term contracts. We have the capacity in place whether it be defense or implantable market for medical. So we still growth in this market.

Just the industrial portion has been a little bit weaker, which is not a huge portion of the business. As far as the inventory, John?

John Anderson -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. In terms of inventory, inventory, if you look year over year, so June 30 to June 30 inventory in our precision device business is up, but it's supporting an increased book-to-bill and level of bookings. So we still, as I mentioned in the guide, we're still very bullish on growth for that PD business moving into Q3.

David Haberle -- Susquehanna International Group -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Charlie Anderson -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Yes, thanks for taking my questions. I wanted to tack on the precision devices businesses. It sounds like 5G roll outs are kind of going as planned. I think you continue to sort of articulate the $100 million target in a few years.

So I wonder if you can just maybe give us a little bit of color what's going on there. Is everything sort of on schedule as expected? Then also if you can remind us as you have that mix shift to more revenue coming from that piece, how that influences gross margin within precision devices? And then I've got a follow-up.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So let me just make the comment first on 5G. I would just say the situation is reasonably volatile yet in terms of what the real slope of this ramp is going to be per millimeter wave 5G. We are delivering product right now to a number of customers, but the slope is a little bit unclear yet in terms of what it's going to look like. So I think over the long term we're pretty confident of where this is going, but there's going to be potentially some lumpiness at the beginning as certain people roll out.

Maybe they slow it down a little bit. So I don't want to say that we're negative about it, but what I would say is it's just not as clear on the 5G. Now I'll add this. The majority of the sales growth that we've had at this point has been from defense.

And that business continues to perform very, very well. And so I think there's two pieces to this. There's the military side, which is strong, and I think there's a wide variance of outcomes over the next two years on 5G on how fast it ramps. Now as afar as growth margins?

John Anderson -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. In terms of gross margins, overall, our precision device business for the last two years of gross margins have been in the low 40s. So a little above our corporate average. If you get a little more granular from a product line standpoint, the millimeter wave RF, that has a higher gross margin than, call it, the high-performance capacitors.

I'm not going to go into more detail on that, but it should be, I'll call it, favorable growth in that business, should be favorable to the PD gross margins.

Charlie Anderson -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Perfect. And then for my follow-up, you guys did find $5 million of OPEX savings from IA, on IA R&D. I wonder if you can maybe just articulate what's going on there. Was there sort of completing the program to some degree, or is this because you've seen the high end of the market maybe a little bit weaker, you want to pull back? Just any additional color there would be helpful.

Thanks.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I think there's a lot of vectors on this. First of all, there has been a lot more work with third-party partners in terms of algorithms. I think that's been extremely helpful. Secondly is the product portfolio is starting to be more filled out in terms of the product offering.

But I also think, the thing is I just would say generally this is not specific to IA. We are very disciplined in how we invest our R&D dollars. I mean, it's a very precious asset that we have, and we're pretty disciplined on thinking about this. So, I mean, I think it's a combination of things going on all at the same time.

Charlie Anderson -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Great. Thanks so much.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Bill Peterson. Your line is open.

Bill Peterson -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Yes, hi, thanks for letting me ask a question. Solid results. I wanted to ask about seasonality. You've grown precision device business pretty much linearly for the last several quarters.

And now, it seems to be on pace [Inaudible] 21% this year. You've already given the sort of low to mid-single digits for the full year. But how should we think about the seasonality in that business? But also audio, in other words, we've seen sometimes the fourth quarter declines, sometimes it's up. If you can help us understand the seasonality of these businesses that you come up with your full-year view.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. So first, let me talk about precision devices. I would say that we do not see a lot of seasonality in the business in terms of the high-performance capacitors. I would say, in the millimeter wave RF, in the short term, I wouldn't call it seasonality but there could be some lumpiness in terms of the growth based on when people are launching or rolling out a big build of base stations.

But we really haven't seen that. It's not large enough yet to have an impact. So, I would say in precision devices, there's not a lot of seasonality. In the audio area, obviously there's that seasonality that comes in the back half of the year associated with our largest customer.

And I think that seasonality kind of carries over into the early part of the next year prior to Chinese New Year, because there's a fair amount of I would say building by our customers in China prior to Chinese New Year. And then we kind of like wait till everybody gets back from Chinese New Year, see what people's inventory levels are and we go from there. So we really kind of enter what I would say this really uptick seasonality in audio from probably about the August time, that kind of like starts to tail off depending on how our large customer does, depending what's going on in China probably around the end of January.

Bill Peterson -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Okay, that's helpful. Your gross margins, you say you're on target for 40% and I believe that's a slight downtick. Is this mainly mix for example, a little bit lower Intelligent Audio? You've referenced the higher raw material cost. Is this something that, is this going to, I guess, mitigate itself? Or how long should this last? Any comments on the gross margin, including your sort of overview please?

John Anderson -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Let me give you a recap on gross margin. It's important to look at it segment by segment because there's different drivers there. But as you mentioned, gross margins were 38, or I mentioned gross margins were 38%, it's 130 basis points below the year-ago period and at the low end of our guidance. And if you dig in, audio was really impacted.

We had a one-time charge relating to a settlement of a warranty claim in the microphone business. That had about an 80-basis-point impact. And then the other factor was unfavorable customer and product mix within the audio segment. We sold lower, I'll call it lower-priced older technology to some of the Chinese OEMs in Q2.

We don't expect that same pattern to recur in the back half of the year. So that's what is driving within audio. The big sequential pickup in gross margins. In addition, we expect to run our factory full out in Q3 and Q4.

I think our factory utilization the last I looked at was almost 100% in Q3 and call it north of 90% in Q4. So we're getting better factory absorption. So that's really driving that improvement. Within precision devices, we are impacted by palladium.

And palladium, I don't know how close you are to this, but it's currently at record-high prices. I think it's like $1,600 a troy ounce, up form about $900 a year ago. That actually is having about a 40 to 50-basis-point impact on our overall gross margins. We factored in that prices stay at this level for the remainder of 2019.

Again, this is already reflected in our guidance. But that is impacting the year-over-year margins. We do again, in the capacitor and PD business, we also expect improved sequential margins due to product mix.

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Just to give a little color more on the product cost, it's not related to millimeter wave. It's more related to the high-performance capacitor business specifically.

Bill Peterson -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Yes. Understood. That's perfect color. Appreciate that.

There's been a lot of questions on the wireless headset, but I want to go back to maybe, you talked about the content opportunities maybe even exceeding $10 in the past. I guess when you break that out, what would you say the percentage is, let's say microphones versus BA versus Intelligent Audio? I mean, is that what all together gets to be $10? Are all these pieces in your portfolio today? Or do you need to develop more products to achieve this type of content growth?

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

No, I don't think we need to develop more products. I think we've got the product portfolio. If you think about the idea of microphones, I think we clearly see the opportunity [Inaudible] for three microphones per ear. So that's six microphones per headset or pair, or two pieces.

And if you start thinking like maybe one of those or two of those mics could be a smart mic, you could start seeing very good content there based on the ASPswe have. We have the balanced armature, which if you think about the balanced armature, some people want to use one balanced armature per ear, but there is definitely a trend to use two balanced armature speakers per ear. They are actually small enough to fit actually three or even four per ear. And every time that goes up, it's not like it goes from x to x plus 50%.

It goes x times two times thre. So there is a pretty big opportunity as people want to get more performance with balanced armature. In other words you have kind of a woofer tweeter type situation where you have one that focus on bass and one that focuses on the high end. And then lastly, the Intelligent Audio opportunity beyond SmartMics, which SmartMics are mics, but there may be opportunities as we look further out for the multi-core DSPs in the ear.

So when you start adding this up, you can easily see $10 of content on a headset. And it's not too hard to envision. And what I would say is you'll probably see some of these start to be introduced later this year.

Bill Peterson -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Okay, that's helpful. We look forward to hearing more about this in September. Thank you.

Mike Knapp -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Thanks, Bill.

Operator

[Operator instructions] You next question comes from the line of Tristan Gerra. Your line is open.

Tristan Gerra -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Hi, good afternoon. You've mentioned that 20% of this year's CAPEX is going to be a capacity expansion that you're going to have in place by end of Q1. How does that translate in terms of unit capacity by then?

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Tristan, I'm not sure we're going to answer that at this point. I think there's a lot of factors here. We're bringing up, I would say, a new way of manufacturing our balanced armature receivers.

This is not just taking, it's why it's taking a little longer. It's not just taking the existing balanced armatures and just putting more capacity in place. This is a very thoughtful way of bringing more capacity online in order to do a couple of things. Number one, bringing the material cost down, bringing the yields up, reduce the amount of labor content and overall just bringing the overall cost down.

So I think it's a little early to talk about how that all translates yet. But needless to say, we expect that it's a pretty good payback on that investment.

Tristan Gerra -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Okay. And then you talked about the incremental revenue opportunity that you expect in your precision device business. Any feedback you could give us in terms of the dollar content opportunity for your millimeter wave product in 5G base station?

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I think I would like to leave that a little bit for the investor day to talk a little bit about it because I think there's a number of opportunities here within the millimeter wave. And I think we'll lay a little bit more detail on the content. But it's not like we're talking about having like a couple of dollars of content per base station.

We're talking tens of dollars per base station of content. So it's a pretty large number, the content. But we'll lay more about that at the investor day.

Tristan Gerra -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Operator

There are no more questions over the phone lines at this time. I turn the call back over to the presenters.

Mike Knapp -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Great. Thanks very much for joining us today. As always, we appreciate your interest in Knowles and we look forward to speaking with you on our next earnings call and at our analyst day. Thanks, and goodbye.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 47 minutes

Call participants:

Mike Knapp -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Jeff Niew -- President and Chief Executive Officer

John Anderson -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Harsh Kumar -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Suji Desilva -- Roth Capital Partners , LLC -- Analyst

Anthony Stoss -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Bob Labick -- CJS Securities -- Analyst

David Haberle -- Susquehanna International Group -- Analyst

Charlie Anderson -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Bill Peterson -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Tristan Gerra -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

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