AMD CEO's battle plan lacks detail: analysts
Advanced Micro Devices' new chief executive's aggressive plans for the company's revival fell short of expectations as they offered no clear details, analysts said.
Rory Read, who took over as CEO in August, said on Thursday the chipmaker would leverage its PC chip technology to enter the fast-growing tablet segment as well as the emerging markets, but stay away from the smartphone segment.
"No change to our negative view of AMD following its unsurprisingly upbeat analyst day," analysts at MKM Partners said.
AMD has long struggled to keep up with bigger rival Intel Inc in the market for powerful PC processors. Both now face challenges from mobile-oriented companies like
Qualcomm that are planning to make low-end PC and server chips using power-efficient technology from Britain's ARM Holdings.
Analysts were looking for greater details about how AMD intends to deal with the competitive challenges coming its way.
"As such, investors may come away from this event somewhat disappointed as the firm exudes energy and enthusiasm, but without many tangible specifics for us to hang our hats upon," analysts at FBR Capital Markets said in a note.
Some analysts raised their price targets slightly but none raised their ratings. Out of 34 brokerages covering the company, only 10 has a "buy" rating on the stock, according to StarMine data.
For the current quarter, AMD expects revenue to fall 8 percent, shy of expectations of $1.60 billion.
Read came from Lenovo Group, where he was the chief operating officer since 2009 and was credited for its double-digit revenue growth and reversing operating losses at the company. Before Lenovo, he was with IBM for 23 years and turned around it's business consulting services division.
Since joining AMD, Read has been under pressure to make the world's No. 2 maker of computer microprocessors a player the mobile devices segment, one of the few well performing areas for the hardware business.
"It is obvious that management is focused on execution, but given AMD's recent track record and a constrained R&D budget, we still see significant structural headwinds," analysts at MKM Partners said.
Read, however, could convince analysts that the company was moving in a new direction and would concentrate on improving its execution rather than just pushing the envelope with new technology.
"We left with greater conviction regarding the company's ability to execute, both for manufacturing (fewer foundry misstep going forward) and design (zealously focusing on growth opportunities)," Canaccord Genuity said.
AMD is well positioned to benefit from the tablet boom as it has expertise in developing power-efficient chips and has a traditional focus on emerging markets, Canaccord Genuity analysts wrote in a note. They also expect the company to gain shares in mainstream notebook and server markets.
AMD shares, which have risen about 60 percent since September, were up 2 percent at $7.05 in morning trade on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.