Shares of Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA), which bills itself as a supplier of human interface solutions, plunged following the release of the company's fiscal first-quarter results. According to Barron's, analyst consensus for revenue and earnings per share were $288 million and $1.20, respectively. Synaptics missed on both, turning in $282.7 million and $1.04.
Furthermore, the company guided to between $415 million and $450 million in revenue for its fiscal second quarter, against a reported analyst consensus of $465 million. Synaptics is also looking for non-generally accepted accounting principles gross margin of 34% to 36% for the second quarter, a decline from 44.1% in the most recent quarter driven by the company's acquisition of chipmaker Renesas SP Drivers (which brings in significant revenue at significantly lower-than-average gross margins).
The first-quarter miss and relatively weak second-quarter guidance are contributing to a hefty 12% decline in the stock as of writing. Is it time for investors to panic, or does this represent a buying opportunity?
First things first: What drove the misses?
In Synaptics' press release, CEO Richard Bergman said the company's weaker than expected quarterly results "reflected weaker than expected customer demand trends in the mobile market, offset by the greater-than-anticipated demand in the PC market."
Bergman added that this unexpected demand mix led to a lower than expected gross margin, which took its toll on the company's earnings per share relative to expectations.
From Bergman's comments on the conference call regarding a slowdown in the premium Android smartphone market, it would seem that this weakness could be driven by share loss on the part of Synaptics' customers (such as Samsung) to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) recently launched iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices.
This share loss not only hurts the growth of Synaptics' fingerprint sensor solutions (found on various Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy devices), but it also impacts Synaptics' sizable touch controller business. According to iFixit, both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus feature Broadcom (UNKNOWN:BRCM.DL) touch controllers and Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN) "touch transmitters."
OK, how about some good news?
The bad news is that at the high end of the market, Apple appears to be extending its dominance at the expense of Synaptics' customers. The good news, though, is that Synaptics seems to be extending its reach at other OEMs, particularly in China.
Synaptics talked up its upcoming "touch area" fingerprint sensors (similar to Apple's Touch ID; current Synaptics touch sensors are "swipe"-based) on its most recent earnings call, indicating phones featuring its new fingerprint sensors will be available in "early calendar 2015."
Management was very bullish on mobile payments and, in particular, the essential role that biometric sensors will play in enabling such payments. Should more phones, particularly in the midrange and low end, increasingly incorporate touch sensors, Synaptics' total addressable market for its fingerprint sensors would likely expand meaningfully.
What's going on with that Renesas SP drivers acquisition?
Management also talked at length about tne acquisition of Renesas SP Drivers, claiming that its total addressable market opportunity has now increased by "approximately $3 billion." The integration process is going well, according to Bergman.
CFO Kathleen Bayliss stated on the call that Synaptics expects "modest revenue growth" for fiscal 2015 for its display driver products. She pointed out that since its product portfolio in the display driver market services the premium smartphone market, Synaptics' display driver business will see "growth at certain customers largely offset by weakness in other."
This story could be worth buying into
Analysts expect Synaptics to generate $6.23 in non-GAAP earnings per share for the current fiscal year. Going out a bit further, analysts are looking for $7.09 per share during fiscal 2016.
Based on these estimates, the stock (which is trading at about $62 per share as of this writing) looks cheap at less than 10 times fiscal 2015 estimates and 8.74 times fiscal 2016 estimates.
While Synaptics is getting hit hard as Apple gobbles up more of the high-end smartphone market, I think that the oft-discussed opportunity for the company to expand its presence in the midrange is legitimate. Synaptics' revenue from mobile products still grew 23% year over year, in its most recent quarter suggesting the company can still grow its mobile revenue even as the Apple share gain dynamic plays out.
The Synaptics story is likely to be challenging in the near term, but the company's long-term prospects appear sound. It's probably not time to panic yet, and I think that this pullback represents an interesting opportunity for investors who might have missed the rise in the company's shares the first time.