Mobileye Profit Rises 53% As Self-Driving Interest Surges

By John Rosevear Markets Fool.com

Mobileye N.V. (NYSE: MBLY) said that its first-quarter net income jumped 53% from a year ago, to $33.5 million, on strong year-over-year growth in sales across its product line.

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Excluding share-based compensation and a one-time item, Mobileye earned $0.25 per share in the first quarter, a penny ahead of the consensus estimate of Wall Street analyst polled by FactSet. Revenue jumped 66% from a year ago to $124.7 million, ahead of the $119 million estimate as reported by FactSet.

The Israel-based developer of advanced driver-assist and autonomous-vehicle systems agreed in March to be acquired by chip giant Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) for $15.3 billion.

Mobileye co-founder and CTO Amnon Shashua (left) and Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess. VW agreed in February to roll out Mobileye's map-building system in its vehicles starting next year. Image source: Volkswagen AG.

Mobileye earnings: The raw numbers

Metric Q1 2017 Change vs. Q1 2016
Revenue $124.7 million 66%
EyeQ chips shipped 2,032,000 54%
EyeQ average selling price $45.10 2%
Net income (GAAP) $33.5 million 53%
Free cash flow (GAAP) $56.6 million 74%

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Data source: Mobilieye N.V.

A note about the pending Intel acquisition

As noted above, Intel is in the process of acquiring Mobileye for $15.3 billion, or $63.54 per share. The two companies began working together closely last year, when they joined auto supplier Delphi Automotive (NYSE: DLPH) in two partnerships aimed at delivering self-driving vehicle systems. One aims to bring a system directly to the market by the end of 2019, the other is a joint effort with German luxury-car maker Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (NASDAQOTH: BAMXF), better known as BMW.

Because of the pending transaction, Mobileye said, it didn't hold its usual quarterly earnings call, and it declined to provide forward-looking guidance.

What happened at Mobileye during the first quarter of 2017

The deal with Intel was Mobileye's most consequential news of the quarter, of course. But much more happened:

  • Mobileye sells into two channels: Directly to automakers (called "original equipment manufacturers," or OEMs) and aftermarket. OEM revenue jumped 54% from a year ago to $94.5 million on a jump in sales (and average selling prices) of Mobileye's core product, the EyeQ series of chips. Aftermarket revenue jumped 188% to $30.2 million.
  • Mobileye closed a purchase of land in Jerusalem that will be used to build a new research and development campus. Construction will begin once regulatory approvals are in place, Mobileye said. The facility will cost about $195 million.
  • In January, Mobileye formed a strategic partnership with electric-vehicle start-up NIO US to develop a Level 4 autonomous-vehicle system by 2019. (Learn more about the levels of autonomous-vehicle technology here.)
  • Mobileye and Volkswagen AG (NASDAQOTH: VLKAY) announced in February that the German auto giant will begin integrating Mobileye's camera-based mapping system (called Road Experience Management, or "REM") into its vehicles beginning next year. The REM system automatically creates high-definition maps of a vehicle's surroundings as it travels. The data collected by VW's vehicles will be pooled with data collected by other automakers using the REM technology to create shared maps for autonomous vehicles.
  • Later in February, BMW said it will also roll out the REM system on its vehicles starting next year. (A similar deal was announced with Nissan Motors in April.)

What Mobileye's CEO said about the first quarter

As noted above, Mobileye didn't hold an earnings call. But CEO Ziv Avriam released a short statement:

Mobileye delivered solid first quarter results, growing both revenue and net income by over 50% on a year over year basis while generating cash at a high conversion rate. Strategically, we added revenue visibility with new ADAS design wins, bolstered alliances with existing and new partners, and took a major step forward with our proprietary high-definition mapping product (REM) by signing definitive collaboration agreements with several major automakers.

The pending acquisition of Mobileye by Intel will combine best-in-class technologies from both companies and accelerate delivery of a comprehensive value proposition for the automotive industry, while delivering compelling cash value to our shareholders.

Looking ahead: What's next for Mobileye

The sale of Mobileye to Intel is expected to close by the end of 2017.

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John Rosevear has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends BMW and Intel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.