Semiconductor demand has been booming over the past couple of years, and the situation is unlikely to change in 2022 with Gartner estimating that the industry could generate $676 billion in revenue this year, an increase of 13.6% over 2021.
What's more, the semiconductor industry seems built for long-term growth as it could generate annual revenue of $1 trillion by 2030, according to McKinsey. However, chipmakers aren't able to produce enough chips to meet the end-market demand. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger believes that the shortage could last until 2024, since chipmakers are unable to source enough components for making chips.
This bodes well for Micron Technology (MU -2.02%) -- a company that thrives when supply is tight, and demand remains high. Let's see how this chipmaker could win big from the global chip shortage.
The chip shortage will send memory prices soaring
Micron Technology manufactures dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) and NAND (short for "Not And") flash memory chips that are used in several applications such as smartphones, data centers, computers, and automobiles, among others. The demand for these chips has been soaring because of the growing need for storage and faster computing power.
The DRAM market, for instance, is expected to grow 16% in 2022 and reach $111 billion in revenue, according to a third-party estimate. NAND flash revenue is also expected to follow suit and hit $74 billion, an increase of 7.4% over last year. However, supply chain disruptions could cause a stronger increase in DRAM and NAND revenue as customers will be competing for a smaller supply pool of memory chips from the likes of Micron, Samsung, and SK Hynix.
As it turns out, the supply chain has tightened on account of pandemic-related shutdowns in China, while the shortage of key semiconductor manufacturing components, such as neon and palladium, is putting a strain on output. This explains why DRAM prices fell at a slower-than-expected pace in the first quarter of 2022, while NAND flash memory prices have started moving up. More importantly, memory prices are expected to head higher from the current quarter onward.
Not surprisingly, Micron's peers are enjoying terrific growth in sales of memory chips. Samsung recently reported a 39% year-over-year increase in memory revenue to a record high for the first quarter of 2022. The Korean giant expects the trend to continue thanks to robust memory demand from servers and smartphones.
Similarly, SK Hynix's first-quarter revenue also came in at record levels, rising 43% year over year to $9.6 billion. All this bodes well for Micron Technology, which has already been delivering solid growth in revenue and earnings.
Micron Technology's rapid growth is here to stay
Micron has been winning big from favorable demand-supply trends in the memory market. The company's revenue in the first six months of fiscal 2022 (ended on March 3) was up 29% over the prior-year period. Adjusted earnings totaled $4.30 per share over the six-month period this fiscal year, up significantly from $1.76 per share in the first six months of fiscal 2021.
Analysts expect the company to finish the fiscal year with a 21.6% increase in revenue to $33.7 billion, while earnings are anticipated to jump 58% to $9.58 per share. Even better, Micron is expected to sustain this momentum in fiscal 2023 as well, with revenue expected to grow over 20% and earnings expected to jump 32%.
The five-year earnings growth forecast for Micron also appears to be bright, with annual growth expected to come in at nearly 30%. So, the favorable memory market conditions due to solid demand and tight chip supplies could continue to be a tailwind for the memory specialist.
That's why Micron looks like a solid semiconductor bet for investors looking to make the most of the chip shortage, especially considering that it trades at just 9 times trailing earnings despite clocking impressive growth. What's more, its forward earnings multiple of 6 points toward an improvement in the bottom line. These multiples make buying Micron Technology stock a no-brainer as it is available at a huge discount to the S&P 500's earnings multiple of 24.