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Advanced Micro Devices reported its revenues and earnings for the fourth quarter ended December 31 beat expectations, with revenue growing 49% to $4.8 billion.

Non-GAAP net income for the quarter was $1.1 billion, or 92 cents a share, beating expectations of 76 cents a share on a non-GAAP basis. AMD’s shares are up 8.85% to $127.11 a share in after-hours trading.

The Santa Clara, California-based company has had a good run on momentum behind its Zen and Zen 2 architectures for processors, which can generate 50% or more better performance per clock cycle than the previous generation. This architecture put AMD ahead of Intel in performance for the first time in a decade, and it has helped the perennial No. 2 PC chip maker into a fast-growing contender against Intel.

In the past couple of years, Intel has had stumbles not only on the chip design side but also in manufacturing, where it has lost its technological advantage to rivals such as TSMC, which makes both processors and graphics chips for AMD. As a result, AMD has been making historic market share gains for the past three years. What’s interesting is AMD has been making these gains amid a historic chip shortage driven by the supply whipsaw from the pandemic and unprecedented demand for electronic goods.

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“2021 was an outstanding year for AMD with record annual revenue and profitability,” said AMD CEO Lisa Su, in a statement. “Each of our businesses performed extremely well, with data center revenue doubling year-over-year driven by growing adoption of AMD Epyc processors across cloud and enterprise customers. We expect another year of significant growth in 2022 as we ramp our current portfolio and launch our next generation of PC, gaming and data center products.”

Intel, meanwhile, has been doubling down on its manufacturing investments as a way to stay competitive and take advantage of the chip boom and supply shortage.

Su said in an analyst call that each of the businesses grew significantly and set new annual revenue records, highlighted by data center revenue more than doubling year-over-year.

Overall, annual revenue grew 68 percent to a record $16.4 billion and we expanded gross margin for the sixth straight year, she said. It was the sixth straight quarter of more than 45% year-over-year revenue growth. Gross profit margins in the quarter grew more than five percentage points.

Q4 2021 results

AMD CEO Lisa Su is a keynote speaker for CES 2021.
AMD CEO Lisa Su was a keynote speaker at Computex 2021.

As noted, revenue was $4.8 billion, up 49% year-over-year and 12% quarter-over-quarter. That was driven by higher revenue in all of its computing, graphics, and other segments.

Analysts had expected revenues of $4.52 billion for the fourth quarter. For the first quarter, they expect $4.32 billion, and they expect $19.27 billion for the full year.

Analysts expected fourth-quarter earnings of 76 cents a share for the third quarter ended December 31. For the first quarter, analysts expect 7 cents a share. And for the full fiscal year, they expect $3.36 a share.

Non-GAAP net income was $1.1 billion compared to $636 million a year ago and $893 million in the prior quarter. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was 80 cents compared to $1.45 a share a year ago and 75 cents in the prior quarter. The Q4 2020 results included a $1.06 a share one-time income tax benefit.

Quarterly financial segment summary

AMD processor
AMD processor

Computing and graphics segment revenue was $2.6 billion, up 32% from a year ago and up 8% from the pervious quarter. The increases were driven by Ryzen and Radeon product sales. Average processor selling price was up due to a richer mix of Ryzen processors, and graphics average selling prices were up due to more sales.

Record client computing revenue grew by a double-digit percentage from a year ago led by record notebook sales, Su said.

“We saw strong demand for premium AMD notebooks and our higher-end desktop CPUs in the quarter as Ryzen 5000 processor unit shipments grew by a double-digit percentage sequentially,” Su said. “As a result, we believe we gained client processor revenue share for the 7th straight quarter.”

Su said that in 2022 she expects the PC market to be flat this year, after a strong 350 million unit market in 2021. She noted that AMD’s 5-nanometer Zen 4 Ryzen processors are coming in the second half of this year. In November, AMD revealed Genoa, which has 96 Zen 4 cores. And its Bergamo server chip will have up to 128 CPU cores. Genoa will ship later this year while Bergamo will ship in 2023.

Enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom segment revenue was $2.2 billion, up 75% from a year ago and up 17% from the previous quarter. It was driven by higher Epyc datacenter chip sales and higher semi-custom (which includes console chip sales) processor sales. She said the current console generation is outpacing past generations of consoles.

For the outlook, AMD expects Q1 2022 revenue to hit $5 billion, plus or minus $100 million, up 45% from a year ago and up 4% from the prior quarter. It is expected to be driven by higher server and client processor revenue. AMD expects non-GAAP gross margins to be 50.5% in Q1.

For the full year, AMD estimates revenue will be $21.5 billion, up 31% from a year earlier, and gross margins of 51%.

“In cloud, revenue more than doubled year-over-year as the largest providers expanded internal deployments and more than 130 new AMD-powered instances launched from Amazon Web Services, Alibaba, Google, IBM, Microsoft Azure and others,” Su said.

She said AMD has its chips in 73 of the top 500 fastest supercomputers, and it now has eight of the top 10 most efficient supercomputers on the Green500 list.

Xilinx acquisition update

Su said the company is pleased to announce that China’s State Administration for Market Regulation approved the transaction on January 27. The only remaining regulatory review required is FTC approval of AMD’s HSR re-filing and she expects to close the transaction in the first quarter of 2022.

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