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AMD sales soar, actually makes a profit, beats expectations, share price... decimated

Intel's antitrust shield even loses when it wins

AMD revenues were up, an actual proper profit was banked, and its future looking brighter than ever in the past financial quarter... meanwhile investors are selling off shares fearing a downturn looming for the chip designer.

Strong sales from its Ryzen and Epyc Zen-based processor lines helped the world's second-favorite x86 PC and server chip slinger grow revenues by more than 25 per cent in its third quarter of 2017, the three months to September 30. Here's a summary of the figures, announced on Tuesday:

  • Revenues of $1.64bn were up 26 per cent from $1.31bn in Q3 2016, and topped analyst estimates of $1.51bn.
  • Net income of $71m topped the admittedly low bar set by last year's $406m quarterly loss, in large part caused by a $340m payment to Global Foundries. For a different angle, non-GAAP operating income this year was $110m compared to $27m this time last year.
  • Earnings per share were $0.10 non-GAAP, topping analyst estimates of $0.08.
  • Computing and graphics processors (PC CPUs and GPUs) accounted for much of the jump, as the Ryzen launch and Radeon revamp bumped revenues to $819m, compared to $472m on the year-ago quarter. CEO Lisa Su claimed AMD's Ryzen desktop processors made up 40 to 50 per cent of CPU sales at certain online retailers.
  • Enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom (everything from servers to games console chips) logged revenues of $824m, down slightly from $835m this time last year.

"Strong customer adoption of our new high-performance products drove significant revenue growth and improved financial results from a year ago,” chief exec Lisa Su said of the results.

"Our third quarter new product introductions and financial execution mark another important milestone as we establish AMD as a premier growth company in the technology industry."

AMD execs also touched on the company's roadmap, particularly its plans for smaller fabrication processes. Su told analysts on a conference call today that AMD would partially skip 12nm, rolling it out only for "subset of products" in the CPU and GPU space next year, while most of the company's resources would be going into developing parts using a 7nm process after 2018. AMD has no plans for 10nm, which is giving Intel a hard time lately.

Investors, meanwhile, seemed to be less interested in 7nm than in what lies immediately ahead for AMD. For the upcoming quarter, the chip designer is expecting a sequential revenue decline of 15 per cent, with year-over-year Q4 revenues up by 26 per cent. Additionally, AMD said that it sees sales for hardware specializing in blockchain calculations – GPUs for Bitcoin and other alt-coin mining, which has fueled sales – "leveling off" as demand slows.

Those figures spooked shareholders after hours, sending AMD stock down by 10.5 per cent to around $12.75 per share at the time of writing.

"AMD had a tremendous Q3, driven by Ryzen desktops and Radeon graphics," analyst Patrick Moorhead beamed in an email to El Reg.

"Ryzen likely drove market share based on its strong value proposition and graphics growth were driven by the demand for GPU-driven crypto-currency mining. As expected, Q3 was a big quarter for game consoles.

"I’m looking forward to see what AMD can do in the next six months with the new Zen and Vega-based Raven Ridge notebook parts and Epyc driving some revenue. Finally, I’m not concerned with the Q4 revenue forecast decline as this is seasonal and attributable to declines in game consoles. This happens every Q4. The Q4 decline is expected." ®

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