3 Things Cirrus Logic Needs to Address When It Reports Earnings

Here's what investors should be looking for when the company announces its earnings results on May 1.

Ashraf Eassa
Ashraf Eassa
Apr 28, 2019 at 1:00PM
Technology and Telecom

Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS) specializes in chips that provide audio functionality in smartphones and, increasingly, in other smart devices, including smartwatches and smart speakers. It's also expanding its product portfolio to include chips to perform secure voice biometrics and to enable devices to deliver tactile feedback to users.

For now, the company is known for being heavily dependent on sales of audio chips to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to keep its business humming, with 81% of its revenue over the last nine months coming from chip sales to that smartphone giant.

A person holding a smartphone, which is providing an augmented reality view of what the camera is pointing at.

Image source: Getty Images.

The company is slated to report its financial results on May 1. Here's what investors should keep an eye out for.

1. Progress toward a second 10% customer

Today, the only Cirrus Logic customer that makes up at least 10% of its total revenue is Apple. On the company's most recent earnings call, management made it clear to investors that it's working hard to secure a second 10% customer. 

"I think we spelled out in the [investor] letter that we expect really good things, new design wins to ramp to real material volume within this current quarter," Cirrus Logic President and CEO Jason Rhode said. 

So when Cirrus Logic reports its next set of quarterly results, I'll be looking for management to provide some insight into how these product ramp-ups are progressing and what the nearer-term design-win pipeline looks like. Diversification is important for Cirrus Logic, as a broader customer base means more revenue and a lower risk profile. 

2. Voice biometrics insight

Cirrus Logic has often talked up the opportunity ahead with respect to voice biometrics chips. Considering the company's most recent investor deck pegs the total addressable market for such chips at $750 million by 2021, it shouldn't be long before revenue from those products starts rolling in. 

On the earnings call, Rhode indicated that voice biometrics won't be a "meaningful financial driver for this fiscal year." That makes sense, considering Cirrus Logic's fiscal 2019 has come to a close as of this writing. But he did say that "engagements are accelerating" and that the company is "talking to exactly the types of customers that we [want to] talk to about it," observing that there's "more from a technology investigation and evaluation of the actual product itself going on than there has been." 

Rhode shied away from saying when this business might be material to the company, stating that he'd "rather not call a specific time frame other than to say we don't have anything meaningful modeled in the current calendar or fiscal year." He made that statement in January, so we know it won't be until at least calendar year 2020 before Cirrus Logic starts generating revenue from those products. As 2020 approaches, management will need to start offering some more insight into when it thinks this opportunity will materialize.


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3. Insight into Android

In the letter to shareholders that the company posted in conjunction with its last earnings release, Rhode declined to give guidance for the entirety of fiscal 2020 but did say that "we anticipate revenue generated by Android customers in the next fiscal year will increase year over year, driven by content gains with various [original equipment manufacturers], including our largest Android customer." 

Cirrus Logic seems to be optimistic that its "largest Android customer" will eventually be another 10% customer. While that's good from a diversification perspective, it'd be even better if, in addition to those top two customers, Cirrus Logic had meaningful business from a diverse array of other customers, too. 

On the call, Rhode did say the company is a "suppliant of a pretty good cross-section of the top 10% [Android] handset manufacturers out there," but he later added that "we're still very low on the market share perspective, and we expect to make a pretty meaningful dent in that in really, late this quarter and throughout" fiscal 2020. 

I'd like to see management provide an update on just how big of a "dent" the company expects to make in the Android world over the next year or so.