Advanced Micro Devices reported earnings that slightly beat Wall Street’s expectations for its fourth-quarter earnings. But the company continues to lose money and struggle with tough competition from Intel, the world’s biggest chip maker, and declining sales of PCs.
The company reported a non-GAAP net loss of $79 million, or 10 cents a share, on revenues of $958 million. That’s not bad, given the seasonal trend and a general weakening of demand for PCs in the smartphone era.
Analysts had expected AMD to lose 12 cents a share on revenue of $954 million. AMD makes microprocessors and graphics chips for PCs. It also makes accelerated processing units, which combine processing and graphics on the same chip. AMD has been buoyed in recent quarters by sales of semi-custom chips, or APUs that are used in game consoles from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. AMD itself had expected fourth quarter revenues to fall 10 percent from the third quarter due to a seasonal decline in semi-custom chip sales.
“AMD closed 2015 with solid execution fueled by the second straight quarter of double-digit percentage revenue growth in our Computing and Graphics segment and record annual semi-custom unit shipments,” said Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO, in a statement. “While 2015 was challenging from a financial perspective, key R&D investments and a sharpened focus on innovation position us well to deliver great products, improved financial results and share gains in 2016.”
For the full year, analysts were expecting earnings per share of 54 cents. For all of 2015, AMD reported a net loss of 54 cents, or $419 million, on revenue of $3.99 billion (down 28 percent from a year earlier). That compares to net income of 16 cents, or $132 million, on revenue of $5.51 billion.
The overall chip industry was expected to fall off 3.5 percent for 2015, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.
In the previous third quarter ended Sept. 30, AMD reported a loss of $136 million, or 17 cents a share, on revenue of $1.06 billion.
In after-hours trading, AMD’s stock is down 10 percent to $1.75 a share.
In the previous third quarter, AMD had a $65 million write-down of inventory, and it raised funds by entering into a $436 million joint venture with Nantong Fujitsu Microelectronics for test and assembly of chips. Under that deal, 1,700 AMD employees are moving to the joint venture.
For the first quarter, AMD said, revenue is expected to fall 14 percent from the fourth quarter, largely due to the normally weak game console season and a cautious macro environment in China.
Su mentioned that AMD’s upcoming next-generation core, Zen, should be able to address roughly 80 percent of the server market. Meanwhile, AMD has launched its first ARM-based processor for the server market.
“2015 wasn’t a pretty year for AMD in that they declined on almost every major financial indices, but I am intrigued by the improvement in Q4 overall,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “The best thing I saw was the improvement in the computing and graphics group, who saw an 11 percent improvement sequentially.”
He added, “For 2016, AMD’s biggest opportunity is in the graphics space with Polaris. AMD lost share to NVIDIA in 2015 and Polaris looks to be AMD’s strongest offering in at least 5 years. AMD will need to really work on their graphics software and AMD is hoping that GPUOpen is the key here. Time will tell. Zen may be coming out in 2016 and will most likely be their key to success for the long haul, but it won’t see a lot of volume until 2017.”