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How Skyworks Outperformed RF Micro

By Anders Bylund – Updated Apr 6, 2017 at 10:06PM

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Efficiency matters, but so does valuation.

Skyworks Solutions (Nasdaq: SWKS) works in almost exactly the same markets as RF Micro Devices (Nasdaq: RFMD). RF Micro reported earnings a couple of days ago, where every number was exactly to analyst specifications. Skyworks stepped up to the plate last night to take a swing -- and knocked the cover off the ball.

How can two companies that are so similar arrive at such varied results?

Second-quarter earnings jumped 71% year-over-year to $0.41 per share, sliding past the analyst target set at $0.39 per share. The revenue performance also drew heavy applause by soaring 37% and beating Street estimates by 2.7%. Resting on this foundation and looking at a densely populated order book, Skyworks raised guidance for the rest of 2011.

Like RF Micro, Skyworks is diversifying its customer base. Also like RF, Skyworks taps into the red-hot smartphone and tablet markets, and more besides. Unlike RF Micro, Skyworks isn't extracting itself from a suffocating relationship with a single, suffering customer, as RF just did with Nokia (NYSE: NOK).

So Skyworks keeps its factories running at full speed ahead and reaps the benefits of high utilization  against fixed costs, which is good for gross margins. That's the difference-maker here, because RF Micro's factories are running on fumes without those legacy Nokia chips to tend to.

Looking ahead, Skyworks claims to be continuing to take market share despite the presence of RF Micro, TriQuint Semiconductor (Nasdaq: TQNT), and other rivals in the radio-signal chip space -- and intends to keep doing it. The key to this stock's performance through the rest of the year is whether management can keep that promise.

Don’t forget that Skyworks shares jumped more than 14% on the news and have nearly doubled over the last year, outperforming all comers and keeping the stock's P/E ratio about twice what you see in its rivals. In other words, the stock is priced for perfection, and looks ready to take a dive on the first hint of execution problems. It happened to Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS) earlier this month, and it could happen to Skyworks at any time.

Keep a wary eye on news about Skyworks if you're serious about owning the stock. The best way to do this is to add Skyworks to your Foolish watchlist, which then keeps you in touch with anything and everything that happens to the company. And it never hurts to keep your friends close and your enemies even closer:

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. The Fool owns shares of Cirrus Logic and TriQuint Semiconductor. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

Stocks Mentioned

Skyworks Solutions Stock Quote
Skyworks Solutions
$94.52 (-0.68%) $0.65
Nokia Oyj Stock Quote
Nokia Oyj
$4.89 (-0.20%) $0.01
Qorvo US, Inc. Stock Quote
Qorvo US, Inc.
Cirrus Logic Stock Quote
Cirrus Logic
$76.85 (-1.09%) $0.85

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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