Keysight Technologies (KEYS 5.95%) may not be a household name in the 5G space, but it is one to look out for given the key role the company is playing in the deployment of the new wireless technology standard.
The manufacturer of networking test equipment has switched into a higher gear after struggling in fiscal 2020, which ended in October last year, with revenue declining 3% on account of disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, Keysight has transformed dramatically in the current fiscal year, and it looks like a solid 5G stock to buy right now. Let's see why.
Keysight Technologies has hit a purple patch
Keysight's revenue for the first six months of fiscal 2021 has increased 15% year over year to $2.4 billion. It is worth noting that the company's Q2 revenue growth for the three months ending April 30 was quite spectacular at 36% year over year, compared to just 8% in Q1. Keysight exited the quarter with record revenue of $1.22 billion as customers increased deployments and placed new orders.
Even better, Keysight finished the quarter with record orders of $1.33 billion, up 22% over the prior-year period. Free cash flow of $369 million was also a record, while adjusted earnings per share shot up 85% year over year to $1.44 per share.
Keysight topped off these impressive numbers with robust guidance, calling for adjusted earnings of $1.42 per share on revenue of $1.21 billion at the midpoint of its range. These numbers would translate into 20% year-over-year growth in the top and the bottom lines -- but don't be surprised to see Keysight crush its own expectations thanks to the powerful 5G catalyst it is sitting on.
This is the beginning of a terrific run
Keysight Technologies' days of high growth could last for an exceptionally long time thanks to investments in faster networks such as 5G and 6G. The company's commercial communications segment, which produced nearly half of its total revenue last quarter, is benefiting from the 5G rollout, as well as data center capacity upgrades. This was evident from the segment's year-over-year revenue growth of 30% last quarter.
What's more, the commercial communications segment achieved all-time record orders last quarter on the back of 5G and data center investments. Keysight also brought new 5G customers on board, including important 5G infrastructure players such as MediaTek, Fujitsu, and NEC.
Keysight recently added another big customer to its portfolio in the form of Samsung, which will be using the former's 5G test platforms to set up 5G data calls based on the 3GPP standard. The South Korean giant has already tapped Keysight's 5G test tools for its Exynos chipset, which powers several smartphones. A stronger relationship between the two companies bodes well for Keysight, as Samsung is one of the biggest players in the global 5G infrastructure market.
More importantly, Keysight has trained its sights on fast-growing areas of the 5G market, such as open radio access networks (O-RAN), to ensure that it can maximize its revenue opportunity from the new wireless standard. It has teamed up with key players such as Analog Devices and HTC to speed up the development of O-RAN solutions.
Such partnerships could unlock a huge opportunity for Keysight, as investments in the O-RAN market could jump to $10 billion a year by 2025, according to the Dell'Oro Group. That would be around 20 times this year's estimated investment of $500 million. Throw in the fact that the broader 5G wireless infrastructure market is anticipated to clock annual growth of 53% through 2026, and it becomes clear that demand for the testing equipment and software that Keysight sells won't be fading away soon.
Not surprisingly, Keysight's earnings are estimated to grow in the teens over the next five years as per analyst estimates. Investors seem to be taking note of this, as the stock has taken off since the company's quarterly results were released on May 19.
Finally, investors who have missed the gravy train so far need not worry -- Keysight stock is still affordable, especially considering the pace at which it is growing. The stock's trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 38 is lower than its five-year average multiple of over 47, while a forward earnings multiple of 26 points toward strong bottom-line gains. All of this makes Keysight a 5G stock that's worth buying right now, as it has more upside potential.