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Intel Delivers a Blowout Quarter

By Ashraf Eassa – Oct 26, 2018 at 9:54AM

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A classic beat and raise from the chipmaker.

On Oct. 25, chip giant Intel (INTC -1.11%) reported its third-quarter financial results, and there's really only one way to describe the company's performance in the quarter as well as its outlook for the remainder of the year: stunning. 

Without further ado, let's dive into what the chipmaker delivered for its investors. 

An Intel 9th Gen Core processor box.

Image source: Intel.

Big third quarter, big fourth quarter guide

Intel reported sales of $19.2 billion in the third quarter, up 19% from the same period a year ago. That figure was well ahead of the high-end of the revenue guidance of between $17.6 billion and $18.6 billion the company gave last quarter. Earnings per share (EPS) on a non-GAAP basis of $1.40 per share grew 39% year over year. Intel's guidance had targeted $1.15 per share, give or take $0.05, so the company crushed it on EPS, too.

For the fourth quarter, Intel is anticipating revenue of $19 billion -- down a smidgen from the levels that it saw in the third quarter -- with non-GAAP EPS set to come in at $1.22. These figures are well ahead of analysts' consensus of $18.39 billion and $1.08 billion, respectively. At the midpoints of Intel's fourth-quarter guidance, the company is set to enjoy about 11.4% revenue growth and roughly 13% non-GAAP EPS growth during this period.

Naturally, the company -- for the third time in a row -- increased the midpoints of its non-GAAP full-year revenue and EPS guidance to $71.2 billion and $4.53, respectively, well-outpacing analyst expectations of $69.54 billion and $4.16, respectively. If Intel achieves those figures, then it will deliver 13.4% revenue and almost 31% EPS growth in 2018.

Strength everywhere

In its earnings press release, the company said that these results were "driven by broad business strength and customer preference for performance-leading products." If you look at the numbers that Intel provided, this statement is spot-on. 

Intel's biggest business -- its client computing group (CCG) -- delivered revenue growth of 16% to $10.23 billion. Sales of the company's notebook platforms were up 8% year over year and average selling prices grew 4%. Intel's desktop platform shipments grew by 1% and average selling prices surged 10%. Total CCG platform revenue hit $9.02 billion in the third quarter, up about 11% year over year.

Intel's CCG adjacency revenue -- that's auxiliary components like Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combination chips and cellular modems -- was up 66.3% year over year to $1.21 billion, undoubtedly helped by the fact that the company won the entirety of Apple's (AAPL -1.96%) iPhone modem orders for the current iPhone product cycle. Intel said in its earnings presentation that its cellular modem sales popped 131% year over year during the quarter.

CCG operating income rose almost 25.9%, outpacing revenue.

The story was similar over in the company's data center group (DCG), too, which saw sales rise an eye-popping 26% year over year to $6.14 billion. DCG platform unit volumes expanded 15% and average selling prices rose 10%, yielding a more than 26% increase in platform revenue. DCG adjacency revenue was up only 14.4%, but it's a small enough part of the total -- just under 8.2% of total DCG sales in the quarter -- that it didn't really detract from the great growth in the company's DCG platform sales.

DCG also turned in operating income of $3.08 billion for the quarter, rising almost 36.7% year over year.

Intel's collection of other, smaller businesses exhibited strength as well, with the company's Internet of Things Group sales advancing 8% to $919 million, its memory business rising 21% to $1.08 billion, and its programmable solutions group expanding by 6% to $496 million. The first two businesses saw operating profit improve to $321 million and $160 million, from $146 million and a loss of $52 million in the year prior, respectively. In the third segment, operating profit contracted slightly to $106 million from $113 million in the same period last year. 

The takeaway for investors

Ultimately, Intel delivered an incredible quarter with significant sales and profit growth, and its full-year outlook was raised for the third time in three quarters. Both Intel and its shareholders have cause to celebrate following the release of these earnings results.

Ashraf Eassa has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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