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Jun 12, 2024

Broadcom's AI-fuelled forecast triggers biggest rally since 2020

Broadcom to benefit from Apple Intelligence release: analyst

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Broadcom Inc., a chip supplier for Apple Inc. and other big tech companies, rose as much as 16 per cent in New York trading after delivering strong results and an upbeat forecast, lifted by robust demand for artificial intelligence products.

Second-quarter profit was US$10.96 a share, excluding some items, the company said in a statement Wednesday. That compared with an average estimate of $10.80. Revenue rose to $12.5 billion, compared with a projection of $12.1 billion.

Sales in the full fiscal year, which runs through October, will be about $51 billion, the company said. Analysts had projected about $50.6 billion, and Broadcom earlier said the figure would be closer to $50 billion.

The race to build artificial intelligence systems has benefited semiconductor companies like Broadcom, even though they don’t sell the highly prized AI chips made by Nvidia Corp. Broadcom offers a range of components that are used in computing and networking — including ones that are vital to data centres — giving it a boost from the trend. Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware also bolstered results, Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan said. 

“Broadcom’s second-quarter results were once again driven by AI demand and VMware,” he said in the statement. Revenue from AI products alone reached a record $3.1 billion in the period, Tan said.

Broadcom shares rose as high as $1735.85 on Thursday, marking the biggest intraday gain since March 2020. The stock was already up 34 per cent to $1,495.51 this year through the close of trading in New York on Wednesday, ahead of most peers. 

Total AI sales for fiscal 2024 will be more than $11 billion, Tan predicted. And non-AI chip revenue, which had been sluggish recently, bottomed out in the second quarter. It is “likely to recover modestly for the second half of fiscal ’24,” he said during a conference call with analysts.

The Palo Alto, California-based company also announced a 10-for-1 stock split, effective July 15. Broadcom follows Nvidia in taking such a step. That company’s split took effect on June 7.

Broadcom’s semiconductor division had revenue of $7.2 billion in the three months ended May 5. That compares with an average estimate of $7.12 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Infrastructure software sales were $5.29 billion, beating a prediction of $4.93 billion. 

One of the largest companies in the semiconductor industry, Broadcom has climbed the ranks via a series of acquisitions by Tan. That makes it a barometer for how the overall chip market is doing.

Data centre providers rely on its custom chip design and networking semiconductors to build AI systems, but the company also sells components for cars, smartphones and internet access gear. And it’s increasingly pushing into software, including products for mainframe computers, cybersecurity and data center optimization. 

The VMware acquisition, completed in November, has been a big part of the software push.

“We’re making very strong progress in integrating VMware and accelerating its growth,” Tan said on the conference call.

Apple is a top customer: Broadcom provides key components for the iPhone. During earnings calls, Tan typically gives updates on Broadcom’s often-contentious relationship with that company, though he refers to it obliquely as his “North American customer” or another vague description.

On Wednesday’s call, Tan said Broadcom’s relationship with this customer remains “deep, strategic and multiyear.”