Techwell is a fabless semiconductor company that designs chips for digital video electronics like LCD TVs, security systems, and in-car displays. Although the LCD market is growing strongly, if you pay attention, you know that overproduction of TVs has hurt flat-panel makers like AU Optronics
Despite the current malaise in the LCD TV segment, Techwell may be more attractive than the market currently believes. There are still lots of old "fat" TVs in homes waiting to be replaced, and industry consulting firm DisplaySearch reports that both LCD and plasma TV shipments grew by more than 100% in the last quarter of 2005 from the previous year. DisplaySearch believes that the advanced (meaning digital) TV market will grow at a rate of 50% per year until 2009, and according to Corning
The automotive and security markets are growing quickly as well. Security market research firm J.P. Freeman expects the security surveillance market to grow by 19% per year through 2009. Furthermore, LCD displays are increasingly found in cars and are used in navigation, driver information, and entertainment systems. The automotive market is expected to grow at a rate of 23% through 2009.
Techwell's trailing-12-month sales amount to about $40 million, while earnings totaled $6.3 million. With roughly 20 million shares outstanding and a $9 share price, Techwell's market cap is about $180 million, giving a PE of about 29. This PE doesn't look like any kind of a bargain, but sales galloped ahead by more than 100% in 2005, and Techwell is just emerging into profitability. The growth rate will undoubtedly slow down, but I believe that Techwell may be attractive. Nevertheless, you should perform your own due diligence, considering the competition in this sector and the fact that this company has no history in the public markets.
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Fool contributor Dan Bloom has no financial interest in any company mentioned, although he does have a financial interest in the new Samsung plasma TV that's sitting in his living room.