TTM Technologies Sees E-reader Demand

November 14, 2011

TTM Technologies (TTMI) makes PCBs (printed circuit boards) for the communications, industrial, medical, and consumer electronics industries. It owns plants in the U.S. and in China. The U.S. facilities generally do small runs of PCBs for prototypes and specialized, low volume products. Chinese facilities do larger PCB runs for computer and communications equipment, cell phones including smartphones, and more recently tablet computers and e-readers.

Q3 2011 was a no-growth quarter. Revenues were $358.3 million, down 2% sequentially from $366.1 million, and about flat against $356.8 million in the year-earlier quarter. GAAP net income was $24.5 million, up sequentially from negative $20.3 million, but down 16% from $29.1 million year-earlier. Q2 profits were hit by a one-time non-cash accounting charge for writing off some obsolete factory equipment. So, switching to a non-GAAP view of net income, we have: Q3 2011 $31.0 million, Q2 2011 $32.9 million, Q3 2010 $35.0 million.

While growth has been stagnant this year, profits have remained healthy. Annualizing Q3 non-GAAP EPS gives a P/E ratio is about 7.2 at today's closing price of $11.01 per share.

Because TTM has a broad array of end customers and a global presense, to a large extent its fortunes reflect those of the electronics industry as a whole. For that industry Q3 was a slow quarter in a slow year. Everyone is worried about end demand because of the economy. I believe TTM's ability to make a profit in this environment means it is a reliable cash generator. If the electronics industry picks up again in 2012, there is upside potential.

In the Q3 conference call on November 2nd management noted that some orders were pushed out past the end of the quarter. Cash flow from operations was $42.6 million. The cash and equivalents balance ended at $207.7 million. Long term debt ended at $366.7 million. TTM made capital expenditures of $28.3 million, mostly for new high-end manufacturing equipment in China.

It is notable that debt still exceeds cash. The debt was used to build and expand plants in Asia. So far it has been a good use of debt, but it does create some risk if there is an extreme economic slowdown. Paying down debt has been a priority use for cash.

TTM tracks end markets into 5 segments. For the quarter aerospace and defense was below trend. Cell phones were strong, particularly smartphones. Computers and related were weak and are expected to continue to be weak in Q4. The medical and industrial segment was flat. Networking and communciations, which accounted for 38% of revenue, is expected to be soft in Q4. There is also an "other" category, which saw growth because they are producing the PCBs for a new e-reader for an unspecified customer.

The top five customers were: Apple, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE. Only one of them accounted for more than 10% of revenue.

I believe that as the global electronics industry recovers TTM will continue to pay off debt and eventually be better positioned to use cash for buy-backs and dividends.

Disclaimer: I am long TTMI. I have no plan to change my position this quarter.

Keep diversified!

William P. Meyers

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Copyright 2011 William P. Meyers