Amkor Technology, Inc. (AMKR)
Q4 2011 Earnings Call
February 9, 2012, 5:00 p.m. ET
Kenneth Joyce – President and CEO
Joanne Solomon – CFO
Satya Kumar – Credit Suisse
Wenge Yang – Citi
Veshawn Shaw – Deutsche Bank
Josh Lipton – Eaton Vance
Jake Kemeny – Morgan Stanley
Previous Statements by AMKR
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Before we begin this call, Amkor would like to remind you that there will be forward-looking statements made during the course of this conference call. These statements represent the current view of Amkor management. Actual results could vary materially from such statements.
Prior to this conference call, Amkor’s fourth quarter and full-year 2011 earnings release was filed with the SEC on Form 8-K. The earnings release together with Amkor’s other SEC filings contain information on risk factors, uncertainties and exceptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from Amkor’s current expectations.
I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Ken Joyce, Amkor’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Please go ahead, sir.
Thank you, Kelly, and good afternoon, everyone. With me today is Joanne Solomon, our Chief Financial Officer.
Today I’ll talk about our fourth quarter and full-year 2011 results, and guidance for the first quarter of 2012. Joanne will then discuss our financial performance in more detail and finally we will open up the call for your questions.
To begin, fourth quarter sales of $684 million, gross margin of 16% and earnings per share of $0.11 per-share were all consistent with our expectations. We saw record quarterly sales in our wireless communications end-market driven by strong demand for smartphone’s and tablets. We also experienced a seasonal decline in gaming and consumer electronics, and some softness in demand in the networking, automotive and industrial areas.
Looking back at 2011, we achieved some notable successes. First, we continue to build upon our industry leading position in Flip Chip and other advanced packaging solutions, and commercialized our innovative fine pitch copper pillar Flip Chip technology. We also delivered a sixth consecutive year of positive free cash flow and overcame the extraordinary supply chain challenges that resulted from the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
As I have often stated, one of the key elements of our business strategy is the focus on technology leadership and innovation. We have been investing significant resources in our advanced packaging, and these investments are paying off. As the migration from wire bond packaging to Flip Chip continues to accelerate. This migration is being driven by strong demand for smartphones, tablets, e-readers, gaming devices, and the networks required to handle the expediential growth in wireless content.
The chips enabling these devices must deliver ever greater performance, low power consumption, small form factors, and low cost. Attributes that are best accommodated with Flip Chip and other advanced packaging technologies.
Flip Chip and wafer level packages accounted for 45% of our packaging revenues this quarter, up from 34% in the fourth quarter of 2010, and they generally yield both a higher margin and a higher return than our wire bond packages.
A great example of our leadership in the advanced packaging is the commercialization of our fine pitch copper pillar Flip Chip technology in 2011. This technology is a significant improvement over traditional solder bump due to its small pillar size, smaller pitches between the pillars, and high thermal and electrical connectivities.
It is also a key enabler for 3D solutions using silicon interposer and a through silicon via technology. We developed this proprietary interconnect solution in close collaboration with one of our customers, and has really taken hold with sales of more than 100 million units since its adoption in 2010.
Despite these successes, we did face challenges to our profitability in 2011. The accelerated pace of the migration of wire bond products to Flip Chip has opened up wire bond capacity faster than we have been able to redeploy these assets. We are pursuing a number of initiatives to close this gap in utilization. These efforts include ramping NAND memory production, increasing our penetrations of IDMs as they pursue [inaudible] business strategy and promoting its option of copper wire bond solution.
In addition to our on-going revenue initiatives to address our utilization gap, we are focused on rationalizing our cost structure in line with demand. We have already taken and continue to pursue a number of actions to reduce labor cost in our factories, with targeted reductions of around 25 million for the full-year.
Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2012, we are seeing seasonal demand patterns with revenues expected to be down 3 to 10% from the fourth quarter. Wireless communication should be down from its record levels in the fourth quarter, but still ahead of the first quarter 2011.
Consumer electronic, networking, and the automotive industrial areas are also expected to decline sequentially. First quarter gross margin is expected to be in the range of 14 to 17%. Our on-going efforts to improve our profitability are gaining traction, and we expect that our gross margin in the first quarter will be the bottom for the year.