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Why You Should Be Buying This Expensive 5G Stock

By Harsh Chauhan – Updated Nov 12, 2019 at 2:08PM

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There's a lot going for this chipmaker that justifies its rich valuation.

The odds were stacked against Qorvo (QRVO 3.03%) going into the company's fiscal 2020 second-quarter earnings report, courtesy of the U.S.-China trade war. However, the chipmaker managed to defy expectations thanks to the arrival of the fifth-generation (5G) chip opportunity.

There were a few signs leading up to Qorvo's quarterly results that were pointing toward potentially strong numbers. For instance, strong demand for Apple's (AAPL 0.70%) latest iPhone lineup and a stronger-than-anticipated ramp-up of 5G smartphones were key catalysts to watch out for. The good news is that these catalysts materialized and have set up Qorvo nicely for long-term growth.

A hand holding a smartphone with 5G written in abstract.

Image Source: Getty Images

Two big catalysts are powering Qorvo

Qorvo beat Wall Street's estimates by a wide margin last quarter. Its revenue of $807 million was substantially higher than the $754 million estimate analysts were originally expecting, while profit beat estimates by $0.22 per share.

The arrival of 5G smartphones was one of the key reasons behind this outperformance. Qorvo management indicated that OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are bringing 5G smartphones to the market "faster than ever." This has expanded Qorvo's smartphone content opportunity, and the company said that it is "securing significant content in 5G smartphones."

Qorvo CEO Bob Bruggeworth added on the latest earnings conference call that the company's four largest customers in China are already designing Qorvo's solutions into their 5G smartphones. These devices should hit the market in the coming months and give Qorvo's mobile business a nice shot in the arm.

That would be a great development for the chipmaker, as mobile supplies just over 77% of its total revenue. More importantly, the onset of 5G smartphones will provide Qorvo's mobile business with a secular growth opportunity.

IDC predicts that 5G smartphone shipments will hit 123.5 million units next year and account for 9% of the total market. By 2023, 5G smartphones are expected to account for 28% of total smartphone shipments. This indicates that Qorvo's 5G smartphone content opportunity could rise rapidly in the coming years and pave the way for long-term growth in the mobile business.

However, 5G is just one cog of Qorvo's mobile opportunity, as the company gets over 30% of its total revenue from Apple. Without getting into the specifics, management has indicated that the launch of Apple's latest iPhone generation is having a positive impact on Qorvo. According to Bruggeworth, "new product cycles across our largest customers" played an important role in the company's better-than-anticipated performance last quarter.

The good news is that Qorvo's iPhone-driven momentum looks all set to continue, as Apple has reportedly bumped up component orders for the iPhone 11. DigiTimes (via MacRumors) reports that stronger-than-anticipated iPhone 11 demand has encouraged Apple to boost component orders to the tune of 15%.

In early October, it was reported that Apple will increase production of the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro by 8 million units to meet customer demand. So the consequential increase in component orders doesn't seem at all surprising.

Should you buy?

Qorvo's catalysts look attractive, but its valuation does not. The stock trades at nearly 50 times trailing earnings thanks to its post-earnings rally. However, that shouldn't discourage growth-oriented investors from considering Qorvo stock for the long run.

QRVO PE Ratio (TTM) Chart

QRVO PE Ratio (TTM) data by YCharts.

Qorvo's expensive valuation can be justified by the potential earnings growth the company is expected to deliver. It has generated $2.08 per share in earnings over the trailing 12 months. Analysts expect the company's EPS to hit a higher gear next fiscal year, which explains the forward price-to-earnings ratio of less than 16.

The good part is that Qorvo seems capable of delivering stronger earnings growth given the catalysts its mobile business is sitting on. So if you're looking for a growth stock that could take advantage of the 5G smartphone opportunity and solid iPhone 11 demand, Qorvo could turn out to be a good bet.

Harsh Chauhan has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple and recommends 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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