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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Ambarella (AMBA). Shares have lost about 11.4% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.
Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Ambarella due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.
Ambarella's Q4 Earnings & Revenues Top Estimates
Ambarella reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 non-GAAP earnings of 14 cents per share, handily outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 75%. The earnings were flat year over year.
Meanwhile, revenues of $62.1 million beat the consensus mark of $58 million and increased 9% year over year. Recovery in the automotive and other markets was a positive. Ambarella’s top-line growth was also driven by year-over-year improvement in the security-camera business. Strong demand for the company’s AI vision silicon products was a major growth driver.
The momentum in the AI business continued as CV revenues represented more than 10% of the total revenues for fiscal 2021.
Customer & Market Details
Ambarella had two customers that contributed more than 10% in the reported quarter. WT Microelectronics, a fulfillment partner serving multiple customers, accounted for 68.4% of the company’s revenues. Chicony, a Taiwanese OEM, which manufactures for multiple customers, contributed 13.8%.
Moreover, the company noted that it continues to gain SoC share in the professional security-camera market outside China. Momentum in Ambarella’s CV flow SoCs in professional IP cameras across all geographies continued in the reported quarter.
Ambarella reported non-GAAP gross margin of 61.4%, up 270 basis points (bps) year over year in the fourth quarter. The gross margin figure came in slightly better than management’s guidance of the 59-61% range. On a GAAP basis, gross margin advanced 260 bps to 60.8%.
Healthy customer and product mix supported by impressive operational execution aided gross-margin expansion during the fourth quarter.
Total operating expenses on a GAAP basis flared up 10% year on year to $51.82 million, primarily due to a 10% year-over-year rise in research & development expenses, which came up to $37.18 million. On a non-GAAP basis, operating expenses were $33.4 million, slightly more than the management’s guided range of $31-$33 million. Sequentially, non-GAAP operating expenses rose 3%.
Selling, general and administrative expenses of $14.63 million were up 9.7% year over year.
Total headcount at the end of the fourth quarter was 785, with about 81% of the employees dedicated to engineering. Roughly 69% of Ambarella’s total headcount is located in Asia.
Net inventory was $26.1 million as of Jan 31, 2021, up 10% sequentially.
Balance Sheet & Cash Flow
As of Jan 31, 2021, Ambarella had cash and cash equivalents & marketable securities of $440.7 million compared with $423.6 million as of Oct 31, 2020.
During the fourth quarter, the company generated an operating cash flow of $12.5 million.
Ambarella’s board approved an extension of the current $50-million repurchasing program for an additional 12 months ending Jun 30, 2021. Currently, $49 million is available under the program. The company did not purchase any shares during the quarter.
For first-quarter fiscal 2022, revenues are expected between $67 million and $70 million. Non-GAAP gross margin is anticipated to be 59.5-61.5%. Non-GAAP operating expenses are projected at $34-$36 million.
The guidance takes into account some higher costs and expenses related to the company’s efforts to expedite orders and secure more capacity.
Management expects to ship about 2 million units of CV shipments, mostly in professional security cameras in the first quarter.
Ambarella expects to overcome the seasonal downward trend in Q1 with continued production ramp up of multiple CV programs.
Management anticipates security-camera revenues to be up in the low to mid-teens sequentially. Automotive revenues are expected to increase more than 20% on a sequential basis. However, Other revenues are expected to decline 20% quarter on quarter.
Ambarella also stated that the rate of order push-out and cancellations has slowed down and design activity has started to recover.
Additionally, the company forecasts CV products to account for about 25% of its total revenues in fiscal 2022.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
In the past month, investors have witnessed an upward trend in fresh estimates. The consensus estimate has shifted 39.29% due to these changes.
Currently, Ambarella has a nice Growth Score of B, a grade with the same score on the momentum front. However, the stock was allocated a grade of F on the value side, putting it in the bottom 20% quintile for this investment strategy.
Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of C. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.
Estimates have been trending upward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. Notably, Ambarella has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.
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