Mad Money

Cramer discovers a red-hot semiconductor play just starting to heat up

Cramer discovers a red-hot semiconductor play just starting to heat up

With the semiconductor space on fire lately, Jim Cramer found one off-the-radar player that he says could be in the early innings of a win.

"While I think they have got more upside, I also feel like we might be missing out on some of the lesser-known, lower profile names in the sector," the "Mad Money" host said.

Maxim Integrated Products is a semiconductor company focused on making chips for the automobile, data center, computing, consumer and industrial end markets.

While Maxim has a fairly inconsistent track record in the past, it was last week's impressive quarter that caught Cramer's attention. He compared Maxim to the equivalent of a C-student who suddenly started getting B pluses and an occasional A minus. It hasn't gotten enough attention for its transformation, either.

Source: Maxim Integrated

That signaled to Cramer that there could be enormous upside potential, as long as the company can continue to deliver strong numbers.

In 2015, Maxim conducted a strategic review to determine what businesses it should invest in, and found approximately $100 million in cost savings at its factories. Since then the company has doubled down on power management, which is the largest and fastest growing sub-category for the kind of analog chips it specializes in.

But lately, those markets have slowed, so Maxim diversified its power management business into the data center, automobile, communications and the industrial market.

In 2012, only 24 percent of Maxim's business came from those end markets. By next year, they will encompass nearly two-thirds of the company's power management related sales.

Additionally, last year the company transitioned its research and development budget to these faster-end markets. Maxim also has a lot of older products with higher margins and not a lot of growth, because once it puts its analog chips into any kind of technology, they tend to stay there.

Maxim also reorganized all of these various products into one business unit so there would be less confusion about where the innovation is occurring. It was clear to Cramer that these efforts are paying off when he saw the most recent quarter.

So while the semiconductor business has been roaring lately, Cramer doesn't think investors have missed the move on Maxim yet.

"Maxim Integrated Products has transformed itself into a much better company with much less exposure to the consumer, and I think we could still be in the early innings of this self-help story," Cramer said.

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