PMC-Sierra, Inc. Earnings Call Nuggets: Customer Order Dynamics, Carrier Business

On Monday, PMC-Sierra, Inc. (NASDAQ:PMCS) reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Customer Order Dynamics

James Schneider – Goldman Sachs: Greg, I was wondering if you could start out by talking about some customer order dynamics. What have you seen over the past quarter? I think you talked about a book-to-bill of over 1.2 last quarter, and that’s now over 1.1 today. So, are you seeing order push-outs by customers or kind of what are you seeing by end market, that’d be very helpful?

Gregory S. Lang – President and CEO: So, let me start back with the reference from the past call. Basically, when we go through a period of kind of less than a 1x type of book-to-bill, you end up having a bit of an overcorrection. So, I would say, we clearly aren’t seeing push-outs at this stage if that’s what you’re thinking of between the 1.2 we saw then and the 1.1 we see now. It was really just kind of the catch-up that needed to happen after a very slow Q4. So, the rate that we finished for the full quarter, 1.1 book-to-bill is very strong. And right now, between the different market segments we serve in the enterprise and storage part of the business, we’re getting back to what I would consider normal with some normal visibility. We had a very strong finish to Q1, which typically means people are getting caught up on the inventory consumption they need to do and getting back to regular business. So, storage; feels like it’s getting closer to the normal dynamics we see; not quite there yet in Q2, but certainly should be in a good position for a strong Q3 since it’s also a seasonally strong quarter. On the other part of the business, just the carrier profile in general I wouldn’t say there has been a big shift in order patterns this past quarter. It’s still slow, and so the improvements that we have seen have been primarily out of the storage side and we really haven’t seen the signs of life that we’d like to see on the carrier side and this is now I think the third or fourth quarter where we’re coming into a quarter with pretty slow carrier sales and carrier outlook. So, that’s kind of the (just) between the two markets.

James Schneider – Goldman Sachs: And then maybe just following on, on the carrier comment for a second. Could you just give us some more color on what your customers are talking about in terms of the recovery they expect to see based on their forecasts? Are you expecting to WAN area or the wireless base station area to recover first and then do you expect to see the PON recovery you originally expected to come back in Q2, especially Japan?

Gregory S. Lang – President and CEO: Yeah PON is coming back a little bit in Q2. There’s a little bit of growth there. I think it’s in general in line with the weakness we see elsewhere, but there is a little bit of growth there. Outside of that what we see and what we hear is people are talking about a stronger second half. I mentioned in kind of the formal part of the script I mentioned that there was strong growth outlook from the two of the big three in China, reasonable numbers for North America and China Mobile, but given the slow start you’d expect to kind of a strong second half. Now having said that, we really haven’t seen it show within our bookings yet. So at some point to have a strong second half we’re going to have to see orders turn and stronger demand. In terms of where we would expect to see it first or most, I think clearly where the carriers are pointing their spending tends to be more on the wireless part of equation, so I would expect the wireless backhaul and fiber pieces to be the first places to be expected, and then OTN coming along later. OTN is really going to be driven by a big technology transition as well as some recovery in spending. So, I think it will take a – it has a little bit more runway to go.

James Schneider – Goldman Sachs: Then just one last one for me, based on your comments in to about Q2 in the back half of the year, do you expect this 70% kind of gross margin range to be sustainable through the end of this year and the next year as well?

Michael W. Zellner – VP and CFO: Yeah, I actually think that we’ll pass by the 70% mark and be kind of in the low 70%, 71%; maybe 72% range, and I think that’s sustainable for the next several quarters that we look out.

Carrier Business

Ruben Roy – Mizuho Securities: Greg, just to follow up on that that last question, and thanks for the longer term outlook. It sounds like you are counting on the carriers to start spending again on the wireless side. You know, when you think about Q4 and potentially getting back to your historical run rate or normalized run rate, is that really the premise based on recovery in your wireless business mostly and potentially Wintegra? It sounds like your legacy business is off and potentially stabilizing here around 8% of revenues. I am just wondering how you’re thinking about and having confidence in giving us that type of guidance when you think about Q4?

Gregory S. Lang – President and CEO: Yeah, so I think there’s two parts to the answer to your question. Part one is we actually expect our storage business to continue to grow throughout the year. So, part of that outlook in that range that I gave you assumes that we’re going to see a good – some decent growth still coming out of the storage part of the business. So, that’s part one. But we’re also assuming that we see the carrier part of the business to actually return to a higher level of business than we’re seeing today. Overall, it’s probably off on the order of 30% over the last year, and at some point they’re going to have to come back, and start investing in their network. So, I think all the fundamentals around the traffic growth and smartphone handset growth continue, and the carriers will have to come back at some point. The big question is when, and I am not sure that I have a better crystal ball than the next guy on that one, but we do believe that that’s going to come back. So, I would say the answer to your question is, getting to those run rates in the later part of the year is going to be contributed to – by both storage as well as the carrier part of our business.

Ruben Roy – Mizuho Securities: Just to drill down into the optical side of the business a little bit more. So, do you expect kind of – contribution from OTN, it sounds like that’s taking a little bit longer than you’d expected. Is that going to come back in the second half and what about on the fiber-to-the-home side? Do you think that some of the 10-gig stuff that you’re working on is going to ramp this year?

Gregory S. Lang – President and CEO: Yeah, on the specific question that you asked, on the OTN piece, I do think that we’ll start to see that pick up later in the year, although I think that when we look at our carrier business as a whole, I expect the back-haul piece to be kind of the most robust followed by OTN. And then I think fiber-to-the-home, as we’ve seen the last couple of years, will be kind of up and down, but mostly flattish for us throughout this year.