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Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Message Board

  • dr_max_facts dr_max_facts Oct 26, 2012 1:48 PM Flag


    Fitch revises AMD outlook to negative, cuts snr debt rating

    Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:52am EDT

    Oct 26 - Fitch has taken the following actions on the ratings for Advanced
    Micro Devices Inc.'s (NYSE: AMD):

    --Affirmed long-term IDR at 'B';
    --Downgraded senior unsecured debt to 'B/RR4' from 'B+/RR3'.

    The Rating Outlook is revised to Negative from Stable. Fitch's actions affect
    approximately $2.0 billion of total debt.

    The Negative Rating Outlook reflects Fitch's belief that AMD's operating results
    will remain pressured through at least the near-term driven by a combination of
    cyclical and secular headwinds. As a result, Fitch expects profitability to
    plummet and negative free cash flow (FCF), which may materially weaken

    Cyclical headwinds are adversely affecting the broader PC supply chain and Fitch
    believes these are incorporated into AMD's current ratings. However, Intel's
    market share gains, AMD's excess inventories in the channel, and increasing
    tablet penetration are exacerbating already formidable pressure on revenues from
    weak worldwide personal computers (PC) demand and a protracted PC refresh cycle
    in advance of Microsoft's Window 8 release.

    As a result, AMD has given mid-point guidance of negative 17.5% revenue growth
    for 2012 and Fitch expects low double-digit negative revenue growth in 2013.
    Sales could benefit from more strong adoption of the company's newest generation
    of accelerated processor units (APU) or a return to supply and demand balance in
    the channel.

    Fitch expects AMD's operating EBITDA will end 2012 at approximately half its
    2011 level and could trough in 2013 within a range of roughly break even to $250
    million. Gross profit margins will remain pressured and in the mid to high 30s
    range versus the low to mid 40s of recent years, driven by broad based average
    selling price (ASP) pressures and lower utilization of AMD's back end equipment.
    These pressures appear unlikely to abate over the near-term but could be
    somewhat offset by stronger than anticipated adoption of AMD's APUs.

    The company's restructuring actions should begin yielding benefits in the
    current quarter and be fully realized at the end of the third quarter of 2013.
    The program is the second announced within the last year and will reduce global
    headcount by 15% and aims to save AMD approximately $190 million in annual
    operating expenses.

    Nonetheless, Fitch estimates AMD will use over $200 million per year in both
    2012 and 2013. Cash usage is being exacerbated by outlays for restructuring ($80
    million) and amending a purchase agreement with its foundry partner,
    GLOBALFOUNDRIES ($425 million).

    Fitch believes AMD's liquidity was sufficient as of Sep. 30, 2012 and consisted
    of $1.5 billion of cash and cash equivalents (includes approximately $200
    million of long-term marketable securities). Nonetheless, pro forma for Fitch's
    projected cash usage ranges, cash balances could decline to below the company's
    stated optimal cash balance of $1.1 billion (note: management has stated $700
    million - $800 million is sufficient to run the business). AMD reduced its
    stated optimal cash balance from $1.5 billion during the third quarter earnings

    In connection with the restructuring announcement, AMD reiterated its shift in
    focus away from legacy PC markets and aims to achieve 40% - 50% of sales from
    faster growth markets over the long run. The company believes it can achieve 20%
    of sales from faster-growth markets over the next year (versus 15% currently).
    The company believes these markets - servers for the cloud, new embedded
    markets, and ultra-portable/low-power- offer higher growth and greater
    differentiation opportunities.

    Fitch believes AMD's focus on rebalancing its sales portfolio will be imperative
    to its longer-term relevance. In Fitch's opinion, AMD's historical role as the
    only viable alternative PC microprocessor supplier to Intel may be undermined by
    the supply chain's adoption of ARM Holding's based processors to power future PC
    models. Fitch is concerned AMD's headcount reductions will include research &
    development (R&D) and potentially slow AMD's penetration in faster growing

    Negative rating actions could be taken if:

    --FCF usage exceeds Fitch's expectations, resulting in cash balances falling and
    likely remaining below target levels beyond the near-term.

    --Faster than anticipated penetration by tablets or share losses to without
    commensurate sales growth in AMD's focus markets.

    --Meaningful penetration of ARM-based processors into AMD's traditional PC and
    Server markets.

    The ratings could be stabilized if:

    --Sales growth tracks that of its peer group, affirming AMD's strategy of
    accelerating sales in faster growth non-legacy PC markets; or

    --AMD's sales levels and restructuring actions result in the resumption of
    positive FCF.

    AMD's ratings continue to be supported by:

    --Lower capital intensity as a fabless semiconductor maker, resulting in a
    stronger FCF profile;

    --Lower revenue breakeven level from historical and recently announced
    restructuring actions; and

    --The company's historical role as the only viable alternative microprocessor
    supplier to Intel.

    Fitch's concerns center on:

    --AMD's limited share in rapidly growing markets for small-form factor mobility

    --AMD's modest share of the overall PC market, including servers;

    --Current reliance on GLOBALFOUNDRIES for the majority of its microprocessors as
    it continues ramping production with TSMC; and

    --Higher than industry average dependence upon R&D investments and efficiency,
    given its status as a fabless supplier.

    Liquidity at Sept. 30, 2012 was sufficient and consisted of $1.3 billion of cash
    and cash equivalents. The company has no revolving credit facility. Fitch
    estimates FCF usage of $3500 -$450 million for 2012 and negative FCF for 2013.

    Total debt was $2.1 billion at Sept. 29, 2012 and consisted of:

    --$580 million of 6% senior unsecured convertible notes due 2015;

    --$500 million of 8.125% senior unsecured notes due 2017;

    --$500 million of 7.75% senior unsecured notes due 2020;

    --$500 million of 7.5% senior unsecured notes due 2022; and

    --Approximately $25 million of capital leases.

    Sentiment: Strong Sell

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