Europe Markets

Apple supplier AMS surges 20% as it diversifies to Android phones

Key Points
  • AMS reported first-quarter revenues of $390.2 million and adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $23.5 million.
  • An upbeat second-quarter outlook is based on rising demand for Android smartphone launches which feature AMS 3D technology.
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Shares of chipmaker AMS jumped more than 20% Tuesday morning after the Austrian group posted an upbeat outlook for the second quarter, amid rising demand for its 3D optical sensors in Android smartphones.

AMS is known as the supplier of Apple's facial recognition technology, but has looked to shed its reliance on Apple, after waning demand for the latest iPhone forced the Swiss-listed group to drop its long-term guidance and suspend dividend payments in February.

The first quarter saw a spike in demand for Android smartphone launches which include AMS 3D technology, and the group expects more Android smartphones equipped with its 3D illumination solutions to launch in 2019.

First-quarter revenues came in at $390.2 million, a 20% drop from the fourth quarter of 2018, but sitting at the upper end of AMS' guidance. Adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) came in at $23.5 million.

The group expects revenues to reach $390-430 million in the second quarter and its operating margin to climb from 6% in the first quarter to 10% in the second.

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AMS CEO: See good momentum to diversify with Android

In its earnings report, AMS said it expects a positive development of the business as the "consumer market appears to have stabilized and smartphone demand is expected to show lower seasonal impacts."

"In addition, we have started to ramp design wins of the recent quarters which drive broadening engagements across our Android customer base," it added.

The group said its other end markets "generally reflect a less favorable macro-economic environment and a higher level of cautiousness," but it expects these markets will continue to contribute positively to its growth.

Meanwhile, CEO Alexander Everke told CNBC Wednesday that the company was not concerned about Samsung's recent commitment to invest $115 billion by 2030 in its logic chip businesses.

"We see significant growth for the future in automotive, where we apply the technologies we deploy in the mobile space now into the automotive, and what is exciting is that these are applications which don't exist today," he said.

Everke also defended AMS' supplying of Huawei after reports that Vodafone had uncovered security vulnerabilities in Huawei technology, and said the firm is focusing on what it "can control."

"Huawei and other Asian customers are very good customers of ours, very innovative companies, and together with them we create solutions which do not exist in the market today," he added.

"This is a very important message from us that we can grow in the Chinese and Korean and Asian market with those customers, and we see the business as a global business."