Dialog CEO says too early to assess potential iPhone boost

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BARCELONA (Reuters) – Anglo-German chipmaker Dialog Semiconductor is poised for stronger growth in 2018 but its chief executive said it was too early to forecast how its main customer – widely known to be Apple – will contribute to results.

Dialog shares have stalled – trading down 3 percent this year – after delays in shipments to its biggest customer, which it declines to name, but which analysts say is Apple, which uses its chips for wireless charging in its latest iPhones.

Dialog CEO Jalal Bagherli said on Wednesday his company stood to benefit from up to six or seven new growth drivers that represented efforts to diversify, while refusing to be drawn on any possible Apple boom.

The Dialog CEO, interviewed on stage at the annual Morgan Stanley European TMT conference in Barcelona, said: “It is a pretty strong cycle from what we have seen so far.”

Bagherli was responding to a question about whether Dialog expected to see a growth spike from the latest generation of iPhones comparable to the surge it enjoyed from the iPhone 6.

But he declined to say how this would translate into 2018 results for his company as he reiterated his previously stated guidance for fourth-quarter revenue to rise around 11 percent – sharply below previous consensus forecasts.

Asked whether Dialog expected to make up for Apple’s delays in introducing its new flagship phone during the first quarter of 2018, Bagherli declined to comment, saying: “There is no logic for why it (first quarter) should not be strong”.

Instead, Bagherli detailed progress the company is making in making the business less reliant on its main customer: “We have lots of growth drivers – some of which didn’t come through in 2017, but they will happen in 2018,” he said.

Dialog derives more than half of all of its revenue from Apple, analysts estimate. Two years ago it derived as much as three-quarters of revenue from being sole supplier of power management chips for use in a range of Apple devices.

The CEO said the company expected to win more business among Tier 2 and Tier 3 smartphone suppliers in China and other Asian markets, as well as fast charging chips in South Korea and China. He also said he expects further gains in chips used in televisions, automobiles and in new analogue chip designs.

Reporting by Eric Auchard. Editing by Jane Merriman

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