Intel Earnings Call Insights: Volume Discussion and Inventory Levels

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) recently reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Volume Discussion

Sumit Dhanda – ISI Group: Paul, congratulations on a very successful career. Two questions for you. Stacy it seems like notebook ASPs were up a little bit sequentially based on the data that you provided in the CFO commentary. Could you help us understand what that was due to? Was it enterprise versus consumer mix or was there a bigger proportion of touch that was shipped in the quarter?

EXCLUSIVE OFFER! Take Advantage of the Tax Relief 50% Off Sale for a Limited Time.Stacy J. Smith – SVP and CFO: I mean there wasn’t very significant change quarter-on-quarter in terms of notebook ASPs. I would just characterize it as a fairly benign pricing environment. The way we characterized it at the beginning of the year is that we have I think a strong product position really across different form-factors in the market, and it played out as we expected. So I’d characterize as just not a lot of change from the way we saw things a quarter ago.

Sumit Dhanda – ISI Group: Then for my follow-up just on the server piece, the last couple of quarters, units were pretty flat and then volumes were down 6% in the calendar first quarter. I would’ve thought that with the easy comps you might have seen a slightly better volume pick-up in that business. Anything you could talk to with respect to why that did not occur?

Stacy J. Smith – SVP and CFO: Well, on a year-over-year comparison, units were up and ASP was up a little bit in the Data Center Group. I think it’s a little bit of an improvement of what we saw in the fourth quarter in the enterprise segment of the Data Center, and then we continue to see very robust growth rates across the high-performance computing and the big IP data centers that support the cloud. So, a nice continuation of growth in those segments and then a little bit better in the enterprise segment. And as I think forward to the back half of the year, my suspicion is we’ll start to see the enterprise segment growing again just based on macroeconomic improvements.

Inventory Levels

Ambrish Srivastava – BMO Capital Markets: Couple of questions. My first one is, Stacy, if you could please talk about the capacity. How much of the CapEx is up, can be moderated lower as the PC industry continues to be weaker than probably what you thought going into the year. So that’s my first question?

Stacy J. Smith – SVP and CFO: I think we’re really well positioned right now from a factory and a utilization standpoint and let me just rewind what we did in the first quarter. We saw that units were a little bit weaker than we expected and our expectations came down a bit. That allowed us to bring utilization down on some older generation process technology. You can see we brought our inventory levels down pretty significantly and actually a bit more than I thought when I started the quarter and we took $1 billion out of CapEx by rolling forward some older generation technologies to offset things that we needed to buy for 14-nanometer and new process technologies. In terms of your question of the levers that we have, I think, that’s a good example of how we can be responsive in a very tactical time horizon to changes in demand and as I look forward across the year, the prediction right now is we’re going to run in a healthy rate of utilization. In fact, we’re starting the quarter at that utilization rate. I think inventories will continue to be healthy. If demand turns out to be stronger, we have some white space that we can grow into, so we can respond up. If demand ends up being a little weaker than we thought, you saw the playbook in Q1 we can pretty quickly react and bring CapEx down if that’s the case.

Ambrish Srivastava – BMO Capital Markets: Then my follow-up on the foundry strategy, maybe for Paul or for you, what’s the long-term vision getting Altera was a feather in your cap. Then looking out ahead what implications does that have for a business mix and then also for the long-term margin structure for the Company?

Paul S. Otellini – President and CEO: I’ve described the strategy before, as crawl-walk-run strategy we’re past (grown.) We are in the mode of collecting serious customers. The design win activity leads the announcement activity as you would expect in this business, and there are some other customers that we still have not yet publicly announced. In terms of the business, as Stacy said, I think last quarter it will not have a significant revenue impact to the Company for two to three years. That’s the design cycle for these product, and in the case of someone like Altera the products tend to run for quite some time, so think of that as something that will start two plus years from now and run for quite a number of years thereafter on several generations of technology. The business model that we have for the foundry assumes value-based pricing. That’s the people that we are soliciting and people that are attracted to us are those who see the advantages of our technology as it benefits itself from their products and gives them an advantage in the marketplace. So it’s a healthy business for us.

A Closer Look: Intel Earnings Cheat Sheet>>