Inari to benefit from business uptick due to coming 5G rollout

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on February 14, 2019.
-A +A

Inari Amertron Bhd
(Feb 13, RM1.66)
Maintain buy with a target price (TP) of RM1.89:
We recently met up with management which highlighted that the radio frequency (RF) and sensor businesses are likely to remain soft near term. The stock price has, however, corrected by 14% over the past three months and bad news is likely to have been priced in. We would gradually increase positions in Inari in advance of the 5G rollout, which we see as around the corner and with Inari poised to be a key beneficiary. We reaffirm our "buy" call but with a lower target price of RM1.89.

Operating at 60%-70% utilisation levels, prospects for the RF segment could be better, if not for the current weakness in end demand for the major smartphone brands. Nevertheless, because of the growth in content and a steady increase in testing equipment, we are of the view that FY19 RF revenue will not see any decline.

Moreover, this has not deterred its North US customer from consigning more RF testers, which is approaching the 1,000 unit mark and expected to rise by a further 10% by end-FY19. We firmly believe that the US customer is anticipating a sharp uptick in RF filters once 5G takes off, which will require a multiple fold increase in filters for the same device. Meanwhile, we understand that Inari is preparing the test protocols for this next evolution, bracing for the next upturn.

Of the 15 mllion units per month capacity, the sensor segment is currently pushing out 6 million units per month comprising four different smartphone sensors relating to biometric identification and health. This is nevertheless half of last year’s production volumes when the IRIS sensor was operating near full capacity. There could potentially be production volume upside by the second quarter of 2019 should there be greater adoption of these sensor across its end customer’s product portfolio. Likewise, the mini LED business is running close to 20 milion units per month and is ready to scale up.

We cut our FY19-FY21 earnings per share (EPS) estimate by 6%-19% to reflect the current RF weakness. Thus, we lower our 12-month target price to RM1.89 (from RM2.25), based on an unchanged 24 times 2019 EPS. We reaffirm our "buy" call on Inari, a Daiwa top tech pick on the 5G ramp theme. — Affin Hwang Capital Research, Feb 13