Stifel Equity Trading Desk analysts Kevin E. Cassidy and Dean Grumlose rate Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) as a Buy as they take some key points from a meeting with the company’s top brass.
On March 10th, we met with Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s President, Ms. Renee James, in New York City. Below, we highlight some of our key takeaways from the meeting.
Intel’s 14nm Process node transition
Ms. James says that Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s 14nm process technology remains on schedule. No details were provided as to which products would first be introduced, but we expect higher GM desktop CPUs will be first to come to market followed a quarter later by notebook and 6 months later by mobile SoC devices. Per Altera’s CFOs comments at a technology conference last week, Altera has no plans to move away from developing FPGA products on Intel’s 14nm process. In our view, every process node transition has initial production issues to be resolved. We continue to expect Intel to be over one year ahead of its nearest competitor in process technology.
Ms. James reviewed Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)’s strategy for moving to mobile system on chips with LTE connectivity integrated. Intel has accelerated its 2 year ‘tic/toc’ new product introduction cadence to introducing new mobile SoC products on a ~6 month cadence. SoC with integrated 3G radios, code named Sophia, is on schedule for late 2014 launch with a integrated LTE SoC in 1Q15. We believe the combination of Intel’s IP (wifi, processors and LTE) and best in the world process technology can move Intel quickly into contention in the Smartphone segment, including the fastest growing low to mid-range handsets.
Ms. James didn’t provide a detailed launch schedule on Intel’s new server architecture, code named Grantley, or provide performance improvement expectations. She did note that the Enterprise market remains muted, while Cloud and telecom/networking markets demand are robust. In our view, with the hyper scale data center companies, such as Google and Facebook, increasingly becoming a larger portion of the server market, the Grantley launch could start in September, with these companies’ ability to work around technical obstacles. Also, with Intel now providing custom features to its Xeon products, we see Intel as effectively blocking new ARM-based competition.
Ms. James says Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) remains comfortable with its PC unit shipment estimate for a low single-digit percentage decline y/y. All-in-one and desktop PCs may actually increase in unit shipments y/y, while low end notebooks may lose share to tablets. Ms. James’ view is that a tablet is a PC, and she believes the two categories have converged. We agree, particularly as consumers demand dual O/S (Android Windows) on their two-in-one devices.
Our 12-month target price of $28 is based on 13x our 2015E GAAP EPS.