AMD will create ‘stiff competition’ for Intel next year due to its chip manufacturing advances: Analyst

Key Points
  • Intel will likely lose market share in the server chip business to AMD, according to Nomura Instinet.
  • The firm's analyst cited AMD's "good progress" in moving toward 7-nm chip manufacturing technology versus Intel's challenges with the 10-nm process.
Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer of Intel Corp., holds up a 49-qubit superconducting quantum test chip named 'Tangle Lake' while speaking during a keynote address at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Nomura Instinet is less bullish on further stock gains for Intel after talking to the chipmaker's CEO, Brian Krzanich.

The firm noted how the Intel executive did not limit the level of potential market shares losses to its competitor AMD.

"We came away from a meeting with CEO Brian Krzanich last week believing that the burden is on [positive earnings] revisions to drive continued outperformance; we are less confident about further multiple expansion," analyst Romit Shah said in a note to clients Monday. "Mr. Krzanich was very matter-of-fact in saying that Intel would lose server share to AMD in the second half of the year. This wasn't new news, but we thought it was interesting that Mr. Krzanich did not draw a firm line in the sand as it relates to AMD's potential gains in servers; he only indicated that it was Intel's job to not let AMD capture 15-20% market share."

Intel shares fell 1 percent, while AMD's stock rose 3.2 percent on Monday.

Shah reiterated his buy rating and $60 price target for Intel shares, representing 9 percent upside to Friday's close.

AMD management has said the chipmaker will reach mid-single-digit server chip market share by year-end compared with its less than 1 percent share last year. A gain of significant share in the server market for AMD would not be unprecedented. The company hit 25 percent share in 2006.

The analyst said Intel's problems in moving to its next-generation chip manufacturing technology may be a factor in its potential market share losses.

The chipmaker revealed on its April 26 earnings conference call that it delayed volume production under its 10-nanometer chip manufacturing process to next year. Conversely, AMD said on its call that it plans to start next-generation 7-nanometer chip production in late 2018.

One nanometer equals one-billionth of a meter. Smaller nanometer chip-making technologies allow companies to create faster, more power-efficient chips.

"We see Mr. Krzanich's posture here reflecting the company's inability thus far to sufficiently yield 10nm for volume production while AMD's partner TSMC is currently making good progress on 7nm; thus, setting Intel up for stiff competition again in 2019," the analyst said.

Intel shares are up 19 percent this year through Friday versus the S&P 500's 4 percent return. AMD's stock is up nearly 50 percent in the same time period.

In a statement emailed to CNBC, Intel said, "We see significant opportunities for growth in the data center – an estimated $70 billion market opportunity by 2021 where we have an opportunity to grow our total silicon data center market segment share from where we are today. To win, we will continue our history of CPU leadership and deliver the broadest portfolio of products that, when combined, change the basis of competition in the data center.

While we are prepared for a more competitive environment as we move through 2018, we've already factored that into our financial forecast and we're in a great position to compete. We remain very confident in our products, our roadmap and our competitive position. For example, Intel Xeon processor Scalable family represents the biggest advancements in platform capabilities in a decade, and later this year we'll introduce breakthrough new Intel Optane DC persistent memory and storage technology architected specifically for the data center."