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Analyst downgrades big Apple chip supplier due to declining iPhone demand

  • Mizuho Securities lowers its rating to neutral from buy for Skyworks Solutions shares, predicting the chipmaker will face pricing pressure later this year.
  • "In 2H18, iPhones could put pricing pressure on RF [radio frequency] suppliers as Apple moves toward lower-end LCD phones with a higher BOM [build of materials]," the firm's analyst writes.
  • Apple represents 35 to 40 percent of Skyworks' sales, according to the firm.
Liam Griffin, CEO of Skyworks Solutions
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Liam Griffin, CEO of Skyworks Solutions

IPhone's falling sales will hurt a key Apple supplier, according to a Wall Street firm.

Mizuho Securities lowered its rating to neutral from buy for Skyworks Solutions shares, predicting the chipmaker will face pricing pressure later this year.

The supplier manufactures radio frequency semiconductors, which enable the ability of smartphones to communicate with wireless networks.

"We believe the effects of a maturing handset cycle could start to impact the RF [radio frequency] suppliers," analyst Vijay Rakesh wrote in a note to clients Monday. "We believe with Apple taking a step back in its 2H18 handset mix to LCD, flat pricing, and increasing new content, incumbent content suppliers may feel pressure."

Rakesh reduced his price target for the company to $100 from $125, representing 13 percent upside to Monday's close.

The analyst said the wireless phone market generates about 70 percent of the company's sales, with Apple representing 35 to 40 percent of its revenue. His firm estimates iPhone production will decline by 2 percent year over year in the second half of 2018, with new models such as iPhone 9 and the successor to iPhone X down 15 percent year over year.

"In 2H18, iPhones could put pricing pressure on RF suppliers as Apple moves toward lower-end LCD phones with a higher BOM [build of materials]," he wrote. "Handset ASPs may be approaching a ceiling and with handset OEMs adding content to drive innovation such as CoF, 3D-sensing, and OLED potentially putting pressure on existing RF suppliers."

Skyworks Solutions did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company's stock fell 1 percent Tuesday.