Shares of Broadcom (UNKNOWN:BRCM.DL) have performed quite well year to date, particularly following the company's announcement that it will wind down its cellular chip business. Since then, the company has signaled that it plans to hunker down and focus on its core cash-generating businesses.
Commensurate with this new focus, Broadcom has also changed up its reportable segments. The connectivity and broadband businesses have now been lumped into one segment, known as Broadband and Connectivity, while the Infrastructure and Networking business remains the same.
Let's dig in to see how the business is doing.
Solid third-quarter results
Broadcom reported consolidated revenue of $2.26 billion for the quarter, which represented a nice boost from the $2.146 billion recorded a year ago. Operating income for the company's "reportable segments" (in other words, ex-cellular baseband) was up 15.3% from $530 million a year ago to $611 million.
Broadcom reported that its revenue for the quarter exceeded the high end of the guidance it issued last quarter because of stronger-than-expected revenue in Broadband and Connectivity and, ironically enough, in cellular.
That said, the company's non-GAAP gross margin percentage during the quarter came in at 54.3%, below the midpoint of guidance. Broadcom notes, however, that this "miss" was due to "better-than-expected cellular baseband revenues," and that had cellular revenues been in line, its gross margin percentage would have been, too.
Encouragingly, the company also reported operating expenses at the low end of guidance as the reduction in its baseband expenses was "faster than expected."
All told, Broadcom delivered solid third-quarter results.
A good fourth-quarter guide
Broadcom is guiding to a revenue range of $2 billion to $2.15 billion, non-GAAP gross profit margin of 55% (give or take 75 basis points), and operating expenses down between $40 million and $60 million from the prior quarter, "driven by [a] wind-down of [the] cellular baseband business."
The key here is that while the midpoint of the revenue range here is slightly below the average analyst estimate, Broadcom is guiding not only to better gross margins -- during the fourth quarter of 2013, Broadcom's non-GAAP gross margin percentage was 52.6% -- but also to operating expenses that are down nicely.
Some more interesting tidbits
With Broadcom now out of the cellular business, it now has the freedom to focus on maintaining leadership in its core businesses. For example, Broadcom's management pointed out that the strength it saw in Broadband and Connectivity was "broad based."
Further, I remember the head of the Broadcom's Infrastructure and Networking group, Rajiv Ramaswami, noting during an investor conference back in May that if Broadcom were to wind down its cellular business, he'd like to be able to invest more in his operating segment.
Interestingly enough, although Infrastructure and Networking saw revenue decline only slightly from the second quarter, from $655 million to $651 million, operating income came down from $244 million to $213 million. It doesn't seem likely that this is due to gross margin pressure, so my guess is that R&D expenses have been increased significantly here.
Foolish bottom line
It looks as though in the "post-cellular" era, Broadcom's business continues to thrive. Further, with its cellular efforts now squarely in the rearview mirror, it can now look ahead and invest heavily in future products for its high-margin operating segments, ensuring its long-term future.