People inside gives Intel a boost

Some companies seem much better placed than others to ride out the COVID-19 storm. Who would want to be in the airline business right now, or own a chain of restaurants?

Happily for its shareholders, Intel is none of these things. Growth in home working and learning, as well as videoconferencing, have helped the tech giant's data-centric and PC-centric (CCG) businesses do a roaring trade during the first quarter.

The star of the show on the data-centric side was the Data Centre Group (DCG). Buoyed by a 53% year-on-growth in cloud service provider revenue, DCG posted Q1 revenue of $7 billion. That's a hefty 43% increase on the same quarter last year.

Other parts of the data-centric did well too. Intel's memory business (NSG) and Mobileye both set new revenue records in the first quarter, at $1.3 billion and $254 million respectively.

CCG also "exceeded expectations." Revenue was $9.8 billion, up 14% year-on-year, on the back of what Intel called "improved CPU supply and demand."

The upshot was that Intel's Q1 top-line got a 23% boost, year-on-year, to $19.8 billion. First-quarter GAAP earnings-per-share (EPS) was $1.31, up 51% compared with Q1 2019, and ahead of estimates.

Signs also look fairly good for Q2. GAAP revenue is projected at around $18.5 billion, and operating margin is pegged in the region of 28% (although GAAP operating margin during Q1 was 35%).

Intel shareholders have not been left entirely unscathed by COVID-19. Following the (understandable) decision to scrap full-year guidance, investors (predictably) got spooked. Intel's share price fell by 6% on after-hours trading when news broke.

Moreover, Intel announced last month the suspension of share buybacks in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen liquidity. The dividend remains unchanged though.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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