AMD Soars After Data-Center Chip Sales Fuel Upbeat Forecast

(Bloomberg) — Advanced Micro Devices Inc. gave a strong sales forecast for the current quarter, indicating that the chipmaker continues to make strides in its most lucrative market: data-center processors.

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AMD predicted second-quarter sales on Tuesday of roughly $6.5 billion, compared with an average analyst estimate of $6.03 billion. That helped the shares up as much as 8.3% in late trading.

The outlook helped allay concerns that the chip market is slowing — and signaled that AMD is making further gains on Intel Corp. The company, which for years lagged far behind Intel in computer processors, is on pace to end 2022 with almost four times as much revenue as in 2019. New products and better execution have helped AMD win over customers who were once skeptical about its capabilities.

AMD’s outlook contrasts with a recent forecast from Intel, which was hurt by an accumulation of inventory at some of its PC customers. The return of Covid-related lockdowns in parts of China also has squeezed the supply of components needed to complete devices, Intel said. Other chipmakers, such as Texas Instruments Inc., have said those disruptions are hurting growth as well.

AMD’s forecast includes a boost from its acquisition of Xilinx Inc., a deal it completed in the first quarter.

“Each of our businesses grew by a significant double-digit percentage year-over-year,” AMD Chief Executive Officer Lisa Su said in a statement. Growth of the existing business and the Xilinx acquisition have both contributed to stronger full-year expectations, she said.

Despite AMD’s rapid growth, investors have shunned the stock this year, part of a broader pullback for semiconductor shares. Investors have been particularly wary of chipmakers that made rapid gains over the past three years, fearing that a collapse is near. AMD closed at $91.13 in New York Tuesday, down 37% this year.

The latest forecast suggests that AMD still has momentum. Under Su, the company has developed leading-edge components and outsourced production — something her predecessors struggled to do. That’s led more chip customers to ditch Intel in favor of AMD.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, who took the helm last year, is plotting his own turnaround. He now claims that his company is offering better PC processors than AMD and will take back market share.

Unlike Intel, which manufactures its products in-house, AMD works with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., giving it access to better technology. Using the latest manufacturing techniques can improve the way chips process data and how much information they store.

While TSMC has surpassed Intel in technological capabilities, it has struggled to meet demand for chips. But AMD has an edge over other TSMC customers. Its products are some of the most expensive items coming out of the Taiwanese factories, in theory making it better placed to get the supplies it needs.

AMD is also the second-largest maker of graphics chips used in add-on cards by PC gamers. It competes in that market with Nvidia Corp. and will face fresh opposition from Intel, which has begun offering products for that segment for the first time in years.

AMD, based in Santa Clara, California, supplies graphics chips used in Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation.

AMD reported first-quarter earnings of $1.13 a share, excluding some items, well ahead of the 92-cent estimate. Sales rose 71% to $5.9 billion, topping projections of $5.3 billion. The first quarter also included contributions from Xilinx.

The chipmaker is predicting annual revenue of $26.3 billion for 2022, a gain of 60% from the prior year. That compares with an average estimate of $24.1 billion.

AMD is gaining ground at the largest buyers of computer processors, owners of the giant data centers that are the backbone of the internet. Some 48% of all new processors installed in these data centers were bought from AMD in March, according to Jefferies & Co. analyst Mark Lipacis.

(Updates with CEO’s comments in sixth paragraph.)

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