We recently reiterated our recommendation on
Atmel is in the process of transforming itself into a purely
microcontroller-based company, which it believes will improve its
cost structure and unlock value. The company is focusing on its
core Microcontroller business and is halting development in
non-core areas with the aim of targeting high-growth and
Atmel has a growing microcontrollers business that should
contribute to the company's top-line growth, going forward.
Microcontrollers are poised to grow significantly due to their
versatile application in various end markets, such as
communications, industrial, automotive, computer and consumer.
Atmel is well placed in the microcontroller market as the company
at present is one of the top ten players in this segment.
Touch-sensing technology is the fastest growing area in Atmel's
microcontroller business and is expected to remain a major growth
driver in the coming quarters. As expected by Atmel, maXTouch
revenues exceeded $375 million in 2011, up from its previous
forecast of $300 million.
The phenomenal growth is driven by continued rapid growth of
smartphones, the rise of Android tablets and the penetration into
new high-volume applications. Atmel continues to see the
touch-sensing market expand rapidly beyond smartphones into new
applications, such as tablets, netbooks, cameras, printers,
automotive and other areas.
However, earnings estimates for 2012 declined after Atmel
Corporation missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the fourth
quarter. As expected, sales also fell short due to softness from
microcontrollers driven by declining yields from the touch screen
solutions segment and overall weak performances from the industrial
and consumer markets.
The first quarter is also forecasted to be weak, primarily due
to softness in the ASICs and memory businesses. In the long run, we
expect strength in smartphones and tablets to offset the weakness
in industrial markets.
Thus, we maintain our Neutral recommendation on the stock. Our
neutral recommendation is supported by Zacks #3 Rank, which
translates into a short term rating of Hold.
ATMEL CORP (
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