Wegen des starken Innovationsdruck durch Intel...
die in der 65-nm-Technik fast ein Jahr Entwicklungsvorsprung vor AMD haben, da Intel in den letzten sieben Jahren 40 Mrd. Dollar in neue Fabs/Technologien gesteckt hat, muss AMD nun notgedrungen nachziehen und seinerseits investieren. Leider sind die Taschen von AMD nicht sehr voll, zumal hohe Schulden aus der ATI-Übernahme drücken. Intel ist im Vergleich dazu eine Cash-Kuh.
AMD hat nur 1,5 Mrd. Dollar in Cash, benötigt für den Bau neuer Fabs und die Entwicklung neuer Technologien aber 2,5 Mrd. Dollar. Deshalb erwägt AMD, sich Kapital durch die Ausgabe von Wandelanleihen in Höhe von 1 Mrd. Dollar zu beschaffen (Artikel unten). [Alternativ wird eine Kapitalerhöhung durch Ausgabe neuer Aktien angedacht.] Wenn die Wandelanleihen dann irgendwann in Aktien getauscht werden, führt dies zu einer Verwässerung. Genau dies drückt zurzeit IMHO auf den AMD-Kurs.
Weiterhin belasten ständige Preissenkungen infolge des Konkurrenzkampfes mit Intel. Demnächst sollen Verluste bei AMD von 45 cent/Aktie anfallen (Gewinnwarnung). Grund ist, dass Intel die neuen (und ziemlich leistungsfähigen) Core 2 Duos sehr aggressiv preist, was AMD zu noch stärkeren Preisnachlässen zwingt. Denn techologisch und leistungsmäßig ist AMD im Hintertreffen. Erst jetzt kommen erste AMD-CPUs in 65 nm raus (Brisbane-Kern), Intel hat die schon seit fast einem Jahr (Yonah). Außerdem sind die neuen Prozessoren von AMD nicht wirklich neu, sie basieren auf den bisherigen Athlon X2, haben jetzt aber alle Sockel AM2 und DDR2-Anbindung. Die Brisbanes haben dazu noch eine schnellere HyperTransport-Schnittstelle (2 GHz statt bisher 1 GHz). Ansonsten hat sich bei AMD in den letzten drei Jahren technisch nicht allzu viel getan.
Intel hingegen hat mit 65 nm und den Core 2 Duos (ich selber hab einen neuen Rechner mit dem E4300 [Kaufpreis der CPU: 140 Euro], der superschnell ist und sehr kühl bleibt) wirkliches Neuland betreten. Daher auch die Notwendigkeit für AMD, in Neues zu investieren und den Markt dazu über Wandelanleihen anzuzapfen.
Advanced Micro Devices weighs financing options
By Matt Andrejczak, MarketWatch
Last Update: 5:30 PM ET Mar 21, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- It's looking more likely that Advanced Micro Devices Inc., locked in a fierce battle for market share with larger chip rival Intel Corp., will seek to raise additional financing to fund its capital expenditure plans this year.
AMD may be planning to raise money through a $1 billion convertible bond offering in the second quarter, an analyst suggested Wednesday, building speculation that the company won't cut its capex plans. "We expect management to turn to the capital markets to raise cash over the next several months," wrote Eric Gomberg, analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners.
AMD, the world's No. 2 maker of chips used in PCs and data-server networks, plans to plow $2.5 billion into its factories this year in a bid to improve its costs per chip and fill new orders for large customers such as PC makers Dell Inc. and Lenovo Group.
However, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD doesn't have the cash on it balance sheet to fund that level of spending. Many analysts fear the semiconductor maker will be cash-strapped later this year unless its raises money or cuts its planned outlays.
AMD ended 2006 with a cash balance of $1.5 billion, a sum not expected to grow over the next few quarters as analysts are forecasting the chipmaker to endure negative cash flow from operations through much of the year.
The dilemma has led to speculation the past couple months that AMD (AMD) will either cut its capital expenditure plans or raise money through a debt or stock offering.
An AMD spokesman Wednesday stuck by the company's $2.5 billion spending target but declined to say whether or not the chipmaker will seek additional financing this year.
When Chief Executive Hector Ruiz was asked about the possibility at a Morgan Stanley investor conference earlier this month in San Francisco, he sounded optimistic that Wall Street banks would be supportive. He described the capital lending markets as "more friendly than a year ago," adding that financing would be "readily available if we need it."
AMD is looking to keep its options open. It is moving to increase its number of authorized shares of common stock from 750 million to 1.5 billion. The board has submitted the decision to be approved by shareholders at the annual meeting to be held May 3. In its recent proxy statement, AMD said the ability to issue common stock may be used for such things as raising "cash to expand our business." Another fund-raising option is to sell more shares of its former memory-chip unit, Spansion Inc. Last November, AMD sold 21 million shares for roughly $288 million.
Cutting back on spending is not the most attractive option for AMD, which has steadily gained market share on Intel since 2004, humbling its larger rival. AMD's share gains spurred Intel to cut jobs and speed up new chip designs last year.
If AMD cuts spending, it's likely to lose market share, industry observers say. "AMD is stuck between a rock and hard place," said Greg Barlage, a vice president at Boston-based Barings Asset Management, which manages $42 billion in assets and owns Intel shares.
Neither AMD nor Intel wants to back down in the ongoing battle for market share. AMD held 25.3% of the market at year-end 2006, while Intel commanded 74.4%, according to Mercury Research.
Intel, emboldened by new chip architecture released last summer, is pushing hard against AMD, trying to use its manufacturing prowess to outmuscle its scrappy rival. When it comes to pricing, Intel has the upper hand and can afford to be more lenient, analysts say.
Intel's costs of producing its chips are less than that of AMD. Since 2000, Intel has plowed more than $40 billion into its factories to improve its manufacturing process technology, which in turn, reduces its costs per chip.
Intel currently makes its chip using 65 nanometer manufacturing tools and is already moving towards 45nm. AMD just started using 65nm technology in December and will complete the conversion this year.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel (INTC) seeks to use its manufacturing muscle and price cuts to put the screws to AMD, industry watchers note. The chip giant gave that clear sign in late January when it forecast its 2007 gross profit margin at 50%, which at the time, was below most Wall Street estimates. In better times, Intel's gross margin has ranged from 55% to 62%.
AMD has cut prices a few times this year in a bid to clear out inventory and boost sales, and so far those moves appear to have been unsuccessful. AMD warned March 5 its "unlikely to meet" its first-quarter sales target between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion.
More price cuts on PC chips may be on the way from both companies. On Monday, Banc of America analyst Sumit Dhanda said AMD plans to cut prices again on several of its desktop-PC chips by at least 25% on April 9.
The cuts, which will slash between 26% and 42% of the price of some chips in the Athlon and Sempron product lines, are an effort to "bolster flagging demand" and "pre-empt Intel's price cuts scheduled for April 22," according to Dhanda.
[Es ist und bleibt ein heftiger Preiskrieg, der sowohl AMD wie Intel schadet - A.L.]
Lower prices for its microprocessors are hurting AMD. The company is calculated to chalk up a net loss for 2007, and estimates have been increasing in recent weeks. Analysts forecasted by Thomson Financial forecast the semiconductor maker will lose 45 cents a share, up from a net loss of 12 cents previously estimated in late January. In trading Wednesday, AMD shares rose 1.4% to $13.60. Intel shares rose 1.7% to $19.27.
Matt Andrejczak is a reporter for MarketWatch in San Francisco.