Considering its stock's performance in 2017 (up 68%), declining revenue year over year, and major expenditures, Himax Technologies (NASDAQ: HIMX) may seem an unlikely candidate to get greedy with right now. But that's a near-term perspective.
For investors with an eye toward the future, Himax hits all the right buttons. Like most pure growth stocks, its share price will fluctuate more than most on a month-to-month basis, just as it has the past year. Though Himax is bumping up against its 52-week high of $11.97 now, it has traded as low as $4.88 a share this year.
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But for Himax, it's the future that takes center stage.
The view from above
Himax's 25% drop in revenue to $151.7 million and earnings-per-share (EPS) loss of $0.04 in last quarter didn't exactly impress, though it wasn't surprising. CEO Jordan Wu forewarned shareholders that because of an "engineering hiccup" in delivering large panel display drivers, one of its largest units took a beating.
Last quarter's $52.1 million in large display driver sales was a 23% drop, and at 34% of total revenue, Himax took one on the chin. Another hurdle cited last quarter was weak demand in the all-important China smartphone display market, as manufacturers held off orders with a bevy of new phones scheduled for a fall release.
Small- and medium-sized drivers' revenue dropped 23% year over year to $70 million, led by a 52% nosedive in smartphone sales. The loss of a key wafer-level optics (WLO) augmented reality (AR) device customer also stung last quarter's results.
But not all of Himax's second-quarter news was negative, including an impressive 51% jump in automotive display driver revenue. Tablet-related sales were down about 14%, but compared to a few of Himax's other divisions, that wasn't overly painful.
Reading between the lines
If display driver competitor Synaptics' (NASDAQ: SYNA) recent results are any indication, the second half of 2017 will improve, as Himax has promised. For its fiscal year, Synaptics reported flat total revenue of $1.7 billion but a 28% drop in EPS to $1.37. The fiscal fourth quarter tells a much different story, however. Synaptics' revenue climbed 32% to $426.5 million, and adjusted per-share earnings rose to $1.18 from last year's $0.46 a share.
Himax is prepped to have the same strong rebound Synaptics had, and there are several reasons to feel confident it will deliver. The expansion of its WLO facilities is complete, so it can now meet customer demands, which was the reason for the investment in the first place.
One of the core reasons to get greedy with Himax stock is the significant strides it's making across multiple hyper-growth market opportunities, each expected to become multi-billion-dollar markets. They include the automotive and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) -- the largest of the large opportunities -- virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR), along with 3D-sensor display and machine-vision technologies.
The immediate and long-term future looks so bright, Himax is diving headlong into building its new headquarters well ahead of schedule. Better still, the reason Himax is kicking in phase 2 of its expenditure plans is to meet the needs of its growing list of 3D-sensing customers "for the next two to three years." That's not to mention the rollout of its new WLO offering expected in early 2018, also ahead of schedule.
The road ahead
With the "engineering hiccup" behind it, smartphone sales on the rise, and growth across its diversified product line-up imminent, Wu's statement that investors can expect growth in the second half of this year, 2018, and long into the future, will likely prove to be spot-on.
For investors that don't dwell on the past but instead look at what's ahead, Himax is prepped for dramatic growth in the coming years. A bonus for growth investors is Himax's surprisingly strong 2.45% dividend yield, though the reason to get greedy now is its limitless upside.
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