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Ambarella Earnings: Taking Down GoPro in the Process

By Rick Munarriz - Sep 1, 2015 at 7:08PM

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The high-def video chip solutions provider delivers better-than-expected financials results, but a weak outlook on wearable camera chips sinks two market darlings.

Source: Ambarella.   

Shares of Ambarella (AMBA -3.31%) moved lower on Tuesday night after posting mixed quarterly results. The provider of video compression and image processing semiconductors posted better-than-expected results for its fiscal second quarter, but any of the bounce the beat would have provided was quickly reversed after the market digested Ambarella's lukewarm guidance.

Revenue soared 79% to $84.2 million, well ahead of the $81.7 million that analysts were expecting. This is the fifth quarter in a row where year-over-year growth has accelerated, according to S&P Capital IQ data, an impressive feat in the often volatile semiconductor market. 

The popularity of Ambarella's video chips that help power GoPro (GPRO 0.54%) wearable cameras as well as surveillance gear, automotive dashboard recorders, and broadcast infrastructure encoders is undeniable. Ambarella was once seen as a piggyback play on GoPro's meteoric success, but it's Ambarella that's been growing faster lately. Ambarella's year-over-year surge was larger than GoPro's otherwise remarkable 71.7% pop on the top line during its most recent quarter. It's the second quarter in a row that we've seen that happen.

Ambarella's bottom-line performance was even better. Adjusted earnings soared 150% to hit $29.7 million, or $0.88 a share. Wall Street was holding out for a profit of just $0.80 a share, but it's hard to call that a surprise. This is the sixth consecutive quarter that Ambarella has beaten Wall Street's income estimates by a double-digit percentage margin. 

It's been quite the ride for a stock that was initially ignored by Wall Street, having to settle for an IPO at $6 a share in late 2012. Even with the recent sell-off -- the stock has shed nearly a third of its value since peaking two months ago -- it's still nearly a 15-bagger in less than three years. 

The stock initially moved higher on the report, but enthusiasm turning during the subsequent earnings call when Ambarella's CFO warned that revenue for the current quarter would come in short of Wall Street forecasts. Ambarella's performance is being held back by flat revenue in its wearable camera segment, something that's also weighing on shares of GoPro in Tuesday's after-market trading.

Ambarella's rich multiples -- the stock closed Tuesday at nearly 30 times this year's projected profitability and 25 times next fiscal year's target -- have made it vulnerable during its summertime swoon. Tuesday's problematic guidance isn't going to help, but Ambarella continues to grow faster than most tech stocks and with richer margins than most chip makers. We'll see if that's enough for a bounce following Tuesday night's post-earnings sell-off. 

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Stocks Mentioned

Ambarella, Inc. Stock Quote
Ambarella, Inc.
AMBA
$63.29 (-3.31%) $-2.17
GoPro, Inc. Stock Quote
GoPro, Inc.
GPRO
$5.56 (0.54%) $0.03

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