Analog Devices (NASDAQ:ADI) is showing no signs of slowing down. The chipmaker has strung together a series of impressive results over the past few quarters, recording terrific growth across all of its business segments thanks to the massive demand for its chips that are used for processing analog and digital signals between devices.
For instance, the company's top line jumped 32% year over year to $1.5 billion during the second quarter. Gross margin expanded two percentage points, and net income nearly quadrupled. But what's so impressive about Analog is that it expects to carry forward this impressive momentum with the help of the positive demand trends it's witnessing in the industrial, automotive, and communications business.
Solid long-term catalysts
Analog Devices' industrial, automotive, and communications businesses together supply 87% of its revenue. Industrial is the biggest of the lot with 52% of the top line, and the great part about this business is that it grew 47% year over year during the latest quarter.
Such terrific growth there was driven by Analog's acquisition of Linear Technology, completed in March of last year. At that time, Analog had claimed that the combined company's total addressable market will increase to $14 billion from $8 billion given its highly complementary portfolios.
As such, the massive jump in its industrial business that supplies the bulk of the revenue shouldn't be surprising, as it's now in a better position to take on the fast-growing factory automation market. As it turns out, industrial was Linear's forte -- it used to generate half of its revenue by supplying semiconductors to factory automation and equipment manufacturers.
Automation is a hot buzzword in the industrial sector now, as it allows for a reduction in human error and improves the operational efficiency of factory processes. So it isn't surprising to see why the factory automation market is expected to nearly double in size over the next seven years, according to Transparency Market Research.
Meanwhile, the communications business is sitting on a huge catalyst in the form of fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology, the transition to which has already begun. The telecom industry is taking its first steps toward 5G with the help of multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technology, which allows carriers to increase data transfer speeds while keeping costs under check.
Analog Devices is helping telecom carriers in this transition with its transceivers, chips that are capable of both sending and receiving signals. These chips address the two critical problems of capacity and cost that carriers are facing while deploying 5G networks, thanks to their lower power consumption and the ability to pack in more radio cards to boost signal capacity.
Now, CCS Insight estimates that the number of 5G connections could jump from around 60 million in 2020 to 2.7 billion in 2025. Telecom carriers are reportedly looking to start deployments earlier than expected, so investments in equipment such as transceivers could take off in the next few years and help boost the stature of Analog's communications business.
More reasons to love Analog Devices
In all, Analog Devices looks set to keep growing on the back of multiple tailwinds, but this is just one of the reasons to love the stock. Analog also trades at just 17x forward earnings, which is half the industry average. Furthermore, its annual dividend yield of 2% is ahead of what its industry peers pay on average.
The company's earnings power should continue to improve with widening margins -- management expects gross margin to go up another 50 to 150 basis points in the current quarter as compared to the prior-year period, which should flow down to the bottom line.
Analog Devices currently pays out nearly a third of its earnings in the form of the dividend. Additionally, dividend payments accounted for 36% of its free cash flow in the previous fiscal year. So it can be said that Analog has a fairly safe payout, which leaves it room to boost the dividend in the coming years as earnings grow.
This is a triple-threat company with a fast-growing, dividend-paying stock available at an attractive valuation, and it's one that investors shouldn't miss.