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Intel forecast beats expectation as manufacturing momentum builds

Photo: Intel
Photo: Intel

Intel (INTC.O.) predicted fourth-quarter sales above Wall Street projections on Thursday as it prepares new processors to handle artificial intelligence on laptops. The company is hopeful about a robust comeback in the personal computer sector.

Additionally, the company has signed three clients for its semiconductor contract manufacturing division. CEO Pat Gelsinger told Reuters that he anticipates closing a deal with a fourth client before the year ends.

The Santa Clara, California-based company’s shares increased by 8% following the closing bell. Increasing PC sales and production contracts follow a post-pandemic downturn that saw Intel’s profits drop to levels not seen in a decade. While Nvidia (NVDA.O.) continues to provide a formidable threat to the corporation in the data center market, other obstacles appear to be lessening.

After double-digit percentage declines earlier this year, the decrease in worldwide PC shipments shrank to 7% in the third quarter. According to experts at research firm Canalys, the industry is expected to rebound over the eagerly awaited holiday season.

Using LSEG data, the business estimated adjusted current-quarter revenue of between $14.6 billion and $15.6 billion versus an expectation of $14.35 billion. Above analysts’ projection of 32 cents, the business anticipates adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter of around 44 cents.

Gelsinger’s significant production investments to support its turnaround efforts have hurt its gross margin, which decreased from over 60% in 2020 to the mid-30s in the second quarter. LSEG data indicates that the third quarter’s adjusted gross margin was 45.8%, above forecasts of 42.7%.

In an interview, Gelsinger revealed that Intel has a fourth foundry client for “18A,” a cutting-edge manufacturing method that the company intends to sell to clients through its Intel Foundry Services division.

“We now have three committed customers on 18A, and we expect that we will successfully conclude at least one more this quarter,” Gelsinger stated. Although he wouldn’t reveal how many chips Intel will produce for those businesses, he did add that the first has paid in advance and is “a very significant customer.”

“The next two are very meaningful, not as large as the first one,” Gelsinger said. “But now we have engagements with essentially the who’s who of foundry customers.” Assuming new clients, Intel is well-positioned to establish itself as “a credible leading-edge foundry supplier to the top fabless companies,” according to Summit Insights Group analyst Kinngai Chan.

LSEG data indicates that Intel’s adjusted earnings for the third quarter came in at 41 cents per share instead of a forecast of 22 cents. Sales dropped by 8% to $14.2 billion.

The client sector, which includes Intel’s PC division, had a 3% decline in revenue to $7.9 billion. Its data center division had a 10% decline in sales to $3.8 billion.

The world’s largest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (2330. TW), reported earlier this month that end-user demand for smartphones and PCs had begun to stabilize. It also added that inventory controls were “healthier than we thought.”

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