This was, to be fair, virtually a given as the age of Apple's installed base of iPhones made a record-setting refresh cycle a virtual lock. However, with teardowns of the Apple iPhone 6 now hot off the presses, tech enthusiasts and investors are fast at work trying to identify the secondary winners and losers within the larger storyline. In that vein, let's examine one unloved company that could be about to get a big boost courtesy of the Apple iPhone 6.
Taiwan Semiconductor: the Apple iPhone 6's under-the-radar winner?
For longtime followers of the Apple narrative, Taiwan Semiconductor's (NYSE:TSM) name shouldn't come as a huge surprise. As Apple continues to attack its key rival Samsung in a host of ways, manufacturing orders for its powerful A-series chips -- which the company has taken away from Samsung -- had to land somewhere. Many speculated Taiwan Semiconductor was particularly well positioned to inherit these new Apple orders, and we saw numerous reports earlier this year claiming as much.
Fast forward to today, and a number of the prominent teardown services have indeed revealed markings on Apple's new A8 chip that indeed suggest a significant amount of the A8's chip fabrication was indeed done by Taiwan Semiconductor. The question from a financial perspective is how Apple's A8 build out was split between Samsung and Taiwan Semi.
Although it's difficult to know with complete certainty, research firm IDC recently posited that Taiwan Semiconductor produced roughly 60% of this year's A-series chip fabrication, a number that's likely to increase as Taiwan Semiconductor continues to expand its cutting-edge manufacturing capabilities in the years to come.
Is now the time to buy?
Looking at Taiwan Semiconductor, it appears there's plenty of room for growth in the years ahead, much of which hasn't been fully baked into its share prices yet.
Apple-related revenue is expected to balloon to around 15% of total revenue in the quarters ahead. In Q3 of last year, Taiwan Semiconductor generated roughly $5.5 billion in sales. In keeping with last year's performance, this would imply an additional $825 million or so in fresh revenue from its Apple contracts in the coming quarter. It's also worth noting that this estimate probably slightly lowballs the potential impact of Apple, since this figure is based on a past quarter and obviously overlooks other revenue growth. And keeping with that argument, Taiwan Semiconductor recently noted that its August sales increased an impressive 25.8% over the year prior. Likewise, analysts are modeling for Taiwan Semi to grow sales about 28% for its current quarter, and an astounding 41% in the holiday quarter.
Now consider that Taiwan Semiconductor is trading for just under 16x its current earnings, and the upside potential for the stock starts to seem quite appealing. To sweeten the deal, Taiwan Semiconductor also offers a 2% dividend. And although it's failed to grow its payouts over the past several years, it's certainly at least plausible to think Taiwan Semiconductor could have a payout increase looming as its profits grow in the quarters ahead.
Over the past 2 years, Taiwan Semiconductor has underperformed the market by a pretty significant margin, even as some of the more bullish elements I discussed above continued to take shape. Now with the iPhone 6 officially using Taiwan Semiconductor to produce its A-series chips, the stage seems set for Taiwan Semiconductor's financials to expand, and the market doesn't necessarily appear to have fully reflected this impending boom. Make no mistake about it, the Apple iPhone 6 will set another quarterly sales record in the upcoming holiday quarter, and as such, Taiwan Semiconductor might be worth investors' consideration sooner than later.