Marvell Technology's (NASDAQ:MRVL) superb run shouldn't stop any time soon. The chipmaker has gained more than 120% in the last year and a half due to solid demand for its chips that are used in storage devices and smartphones. Going forward, Marvell should continue enjoying tailwinds from the roll out of LTE in China by China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) and rapid growth in data storage.
Let's take a look at the three key reasons why yinvestors should hold onto this outperforming tech stock.
LTE in China is big business
Since last year, LTE deployment in China has been moving at a solid pace, and Marvell seems to be making the most of it. In the first quarter, Marvell's mobile and wireless business grew 30% sequentially, driven by LTE ramps in China. The company saw a number of tier-one OEMs launch LTE smartphones based on its solutions as shipments exceeded expectations.
In addition, Marvell claims that nearly half of the best-selling LTE phones in China are based on its platform. The company is slated to gain more traction in this market by powering multimode LTE devices from leading OEMs.
The market for LTE handsets in China is huge. China Mobile is aggressively rolling out its TD-LTE network as it plans to build 500,000 base stations by the end of 2014. This is way above its earlier expectation of building 200,000 base stations this year. Also, China Mobile is spending significantly on smartphone subsidies in order to push the adoption of LTE handsets.
In fact, China Mobile expects to sell as many as 100 million LTE handsets this year. This number is expected to reach 300 million in 2017, according to research firm iSuppli. Hence, rapid growth is expected in the Chinese LTE handset market, which should continue driving Marvell's mobile business.
Marvell counts the two biggest players in the storage market as clients -- Seagate and Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC). In fiscal 2014, these two customers together accounted for 36% of Marvell's overall revenue. The company is seeing an improvement in the storage business despite a slowdown in the PC market, primarily due to next-generation hard-disk drive technologies and solid-state drives.
Moreover, the enterprise storage space presents a big opportunity for Marvell to sustain its growth in storage. The company is gaining content at Western Digital, its top North America-based HDD customer, and this looks like a significant catalyst.
According to Jim Mueller of The Motley Fool, data storage is expected to grow to 6,000 exabytes in 2020 from just under 1,000 exabytes in 2014. This growth will be primarily driven by enterprise systems that Western Digital is trying to tap through product development moves and acquisitions. The company acquired Virident Systems and sTec last year to strengthen its enterprise portfolio.
Moreover, Western Digital is also seeing opportunity in hybrid drives. According to Gartner, hybrid HDD shipments are projected to rise to 126.9 million units by 2018 from just 3.4 million units in 2013. Thus, Marvell seems to be in a solid position to benefit from the storage market as a result of its relationship with Western Digital.
Despite recording solid gains in the last 18 months, Marvell's valuation is still quite attractive. The stock trades at 22 times last year's earnings, and the multiple comes down to just 13 on a forward P/E basis. This is value territory for a company that recorded 20% year-over-year growth in revenue and a 94% jump in earnings in the previous quarter.
Also, Marvell doesn't carry any debt and it has a strong cash position over $2 billion. Finally, Marvell pays out a dividend of 1.50% at a payout ratio of just 34%. As the company's revenue and earnings are growing at a rapid pace, I won't be surprised if it hikes the dividend going forward.
All in all, Marvell ticks all the right boxes from an investor's point of view. It is growing at a fast rate, has a strong balance sheet, and the prospects in its end-markets are bright. All this makes Marvell a company worth looking into.