Shares of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) crossed $11 earlier this week after the chip maker exceeded analysts’ estimates for the first-quarter. The stock price reflects a return of 7.5% YTD (year-to-date), compared with S&P 500’s 0.7% decline. In 2016, the stock was trading below $2. At that time, most analysts believed that AMD will disappear into oblivion. However, with successful execution of multi-year strategy, the company’s CEO Lisa Su has successfully turned around the struggling business. While there are many reasons for the success, the demand for GPU cards from Ethereum and other cryptocurrency miners certainly played a major role in the turnaround.
During the first-quarter ended March 2018, AMD posted revenues of $1.65 billion, up 40% from last year. Adjusted earnings for the quarter was $0.11 per share. Analysts had expected earnings of $0.09 per share on revenues of $1.57 billion. AMD also recorded a gross margin of 36%, up 4% from last year. The operating income jumped to $120 million, from just $11 million a year ago. Notably, cryptocurrency miners contributed to 10% of the total revenues. Nobody can brush away $165 million as a small amount. It should be remembered that the first-quarter was unarguably bearish for the cryptocurrency market. However, Lisa Su is not bothered by the slowdown.
Lisa Su said
“We don’t see a significant risk of secondhand GPUs coming into the market. We do see a bit of volatility and that’s why we are putting into our forecast for the second quarter and the second half a little bit lower blockchain demand, but that’s more than made up for by the other new products and the way the new products are ramping in the business.”
The cryptocurrency market is showing signs of a turnaround in the past three weeks. Echoing the trend, AMD has also issued an optimistic guidance for the second quarter. The company expects 2Q18 revenue of $1.725 billion, plus or minus $50 million.
Recently, AMD tried in vain to convince its investors that demand for GPUs from cryptocurrency miners do not constitute a significant portion of their revenue. When Bitmain announced the release of E3 Antminer,
Susquehanna analyst Christopher Rolland wrote “proliferation of Ethereum mining ASICs [application-specific integrated circuits] has the ability to impact ~20% of AMD’s total company revenue.” The stock turned weak despite attempts by AMD’s management to instill confidence in investors.
As cryptocurrency market grows further, undoubtedly, semiconductor manufacturers would certainly become more dependent on cryptocurrency miners and exchanges for their revenue. No longer, big investors in Wall Street can discard cryptocurrency market easily.