AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) Beats Q3 Sales Targets But Quarterly Guidance Underwhelms

Full Report / October 31, 2023

Computer processor maker AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) beat analysts' expectations in Q3 FY2023, with revenue up 4.22% year on year to $5.8 billion. However, next quarter's revenue guidance of $6.1 billion was less impressive, coming in 4.53% below analysts' estimates. Turning to EPS, AMD made a non-GAAP profit of $0.70 per share, improving from its profit of $0.67 per share in the same quarter last year.

AMD (AMD) Q3 FY2023 Highlights:

  • Revenue: $5.8 billion vs analyst estimates of $5.69 billion (1.87% beat)
  • EPS (non-GAAP): $0.70 vs analyst estimates of $0.68 (3.59% beat)
  • Revenue Guidance for Q4 2023 is $6.1 billion at the midpoint, below analyst estimates of $6.39 billion
  • Free Cash Flow of $297 million, up 16.9% from the previous quarter
  • Inventory Days Outstanding: 142, down from 154 in the previous quarter
  • Gross Margin (GAAP): 51%, up from 49.7% in the same quarter last year

Founded in 1969 by a group of former Fairchild semiconductor executives led by Jerry Sanders, Advanced Micro Devices or AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) is one of the leading designers of computer processors and graphics chips used in PCs and data centers.

AMD began producing computer processors (CPUs) as a second source supplier for Intel as part of Intel’s original processor deal with IBM for the first PCs in the early 1980s.

For the next few decades, AMD would have intermittent success in creating its own chips that could better run Intel's own x86 processor architecture, at times grabbing market share from Intel in the data center with innovative designs like Athlon or Opteron, it was not able to find enduring competitive success.

Faced with bankruptcy after the Great Financial Crisis, AMD spun out its manufacturing arm, Global Foundries, becoming a far less capital intensive designer of semiconductors, allowing for higher profit margins The entrance of Dr. Lisa Su as CEO in 2016 led to a turning point in chip designs, AMD’s Epyc datacenter CPUs and the Ryzen PC CPUs would eventually surpass Intel due to superior higher performance at lower cost.

Where AMD traditionally could only compete with Intel at the low end, in the years since 2016 it has captured share in the most profitable portion of the business — high-end PCs and data center servers, where performance is paramount. Essentially, AMD improved the economics of its business by outsourcing its manufacturing, and competing successfully, but partnerships with chip manufacturers like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will be important for enduring success.

AMD’s primary competitors are Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM).

Processors and Graphics Chips

Chips need to keep getting smaller in order to advance on Moore’s law, and that is proving increasingly more complicated and expensive to achieve with time. That has caused most digital chip makers to become “fabless” designers, rather than manufacturers, instead relying on contracted foundries like TSMC to manufacture their designs. This has benefitted the digital chip makers’ free cash flow margins, as exiting the manufacturing business has removed large cash expenses from their business models. Read More The semiconductor industry is broadly divided into analog and digital semiconductors. Digital chips are what most people think of as the brains of almost every electronic device. Their primary purpose is to either store (memory chips) or process (CPUs/GPUs) data. Digital chips derive their processing power from the number of transistors that can be packed on an individual chip. In chip design, nanometers or “nm” refers to the length of a transistor gate – the smaller the gate the more processing power that can be packed into a given space. In 1965, Intel’s founder Gordon Moore famously predicted a doubling of transistors on a chip every two years. The concept, known as Moore’s Law, was based on his belief that the technology used to create semiconductors would improve continuously, allowing chips to become ever smaller and ever more powerful.

Sales Growth

AMD's revenue growth over the last three years has been impressive, averaging 42.5% annually. But as you can see below, this quarter wasn't particularly strong, with revenue growing from $5.57 billion in the same quarter last year to $5.8 billion. Semiconductors are a cyclical industry, and long-term investors should be prepared for periods of high growth followed by periods of revenue contractions (which can sometimes offer opportune times to buy).

AMD Total Revenue

While AMD beat analysts' revenue estimates, this was a sluggish quarter for the company as its revenue only grew 4.22% year on year. AMD's growth, however, flipped from negative to positive this quarter. This encouraging sign will likely be welcomed by shareholders.

AMD returned to positive revenue growth this quarter and its management team expects the trend to continue. The company is guiding to 8.95% year-on-year growth next quarter, and analysts seem to agree, forecasting 18.9% growth over the next 12 months.

Product Demand & Outstanding Inventory

Days Inventory Outstanding (DIO) is an important metric for chipmakers, as it reflects a business' capital intensity and the cyclical nature of semiconductor supply and demand. In a tight supply environment, inventories tend to be stable, allowing chipmakers to exert pricing power. Steadily increasing DIO can be a warning sign that demand is weak, and if inventories continue to rise, the company may have to downsize production.

AMD Inventory Days Outstanding

This quarter, AMD's DIO came in at 142, which is 44 days above its five-year average. These numbers suggest that despite the recent decrease, the company's inventory levels are higher than what we've seen in the past.

Pricing Power

In the semiconductor industry, a company's gross profit margin is a critical metric to track because it sheds light on its pricing power, complexity of products, and ability to procure raw materials, equipment, and labor. AMD's gross profit margin, which shows how much money the company gets to keep after paying key materials, input, and manufacturing costs, came in at 51% in Q3, up 1.3 percentage points year on year.

AMD Gross Margin (GAAP)

Despite declining over the past year, AMD still retains industry standard gross margins, averaging 50.3%, pointing to its competitive offering, decent cost controls, and possibly modest pricing pressure.


AMD reported an operating margin of 22% in Q3, down 0.7 percentage points year on year. Operating margins are one of the best measures of profitability because they tell us how much money a company takes home after manufacturing its products, marketing and selling them, and, importantly, keeping them relevant through research and development.

AMD Adjusted Operating Margin

AMD's operating margins have been trending down over the last year, averaging 21.2%. This is a bad sign for AMD, whose margins are already below average for semiconductor companies. To its credit, however, the company's margins suggest modest pricing power and cost controls.

Earnings, Cash & Competitive Moat

Analysts covering AMD expect earnings per share to grow 46.9% over the next 12 months, although estimates will likely change after earnings.

Although earnings are important, we believe cash is king because you can't use accounting profits to pay the bills. AMD's free cash flow came in at $297 million in Q3, down 64.7% year on year.

AMD Free Cash Flow

As you can see above, AMD produced free cash flow of just $1.32 billion in the last year, resulting in a measly 5.97% free cash flow margin. AMD will need to improve its free cash flow conversion if it wants to stay competitive.

AMD's average return on invested capital (ROIC) of 38.4% over the last five years implies that it has a strong competitive position and was able to invest in profitable growth over time.

Key Takeaways from AMD's Q3 Results

Sporting a market capitalization of $155 billion, more than $5.79 billion in cash on hand, and positive free cash flow over the last 12 months, we believe that AMD is attractively positioned to invest in growth.

It was great to see a material improvement in AMD's inventory levels. We were also excited its revenue and EPS outperformed Wall Street's estimates, driven by strong sales for its Ryzen CPU chips that are used in desktop PCs. On the other hand, its revenue guidance for next quarter underwhelmed. Zooming out, we've observed broader weakness in the semiconductor industry as higher interest rates have resulted in lower consumer purchasing power and corporate capital expenditure budgets. We still think this was a decent, albeit mixed, quarter, showing that the company is staying on track. Investors were likely spooked by the company's outlook, and the stock is down 4.51% after reporting. AMD currently trades at $94.07 per share.

Is Now The Time?

When considering an investment in AMD, investors should take into account its valuation and business qualities as well as what's happened in the latest quarter.

There are several reasons why we think AMD is a great business. While we'd expect growth rates to moderate from here, its superb revenue growth over the last three years implys it's winning market share. And while its growth is coming at a cost of significant cash burn, the good news is its high ROIC suggests it is well run and in a strong position for profitable growth.

AMD's price-to-earnings ratio based on the next 12 months is 26.2x. Looking at the semiconductors landscape today, AMD's qualities stand out, and we like the stock at this price.

Wall Street analysts covering the company had a one-year price target of $138 per share right before these results, implying that they saw upside in buying AMD even in the short term.

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