Apple sai kolhuja, mutta on kunnossa

Morningstarin Apple-analyytikko katsoo yhtiön heikon tuloksen johtuvan pitkälti väliaikaisista tekijöistä. 

Brian Colello, CPA 28.01.2016
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Morningstarin teknologia- ja mediasektorin pääanalyytikko Brian Colello julkaisi Applen neljännesvuosituloksen analyysinsä 27.1. Hänen keskeiset havaintonsa:

*Lyhyen tähtäimen vaikeuksista huolimatta näkemyksemme Applen pitkän tähtäimen mahdollisuuksista pysyvät pitkälti ennallaan.

*Valuuttamuutokset selittävät suuren osan tuloksen heikkoudesta. Myös makrotalouden heikkous näkyy Applen alarivillä.

*Kuluttajat näyttävät viivästyttäneet uuden iPhonen ostamista. 60 prosenttia iPhonen omistajista käyttää versiota 6 varhaisempaa mallia.

Applen tuotto dollareissa verrattuna Nasdaq 100 -indeksiin 10 viime vuoden aikana. Applen sivut Morningstarilla: AAPL

Apple 10 vuoden tuotto

“Apple’s fiscal first quarter results and second-quarter outlook painted a gloomy picture in terms of currency headwinds and sluggish macroeconomic conditions, but we still don’t see any long-term structural problems, such as market share loss or a lack of innovation, around the firm’s core business. Our long-term thesis and narrow economic moat rating for Apple remain intact. We will likely cut our fair value estimate for Apple by about 5%, as near-term iPhone unit sales and Apple Watch revenue are poised to come in below our prior projections. Yet we still view Apple as one of our better long-term investment ideas within Tech, as the market still appears to be pricing Apple as if iPhone sales are is in secular decline. We think this bearish scenario is unlikely as we don’t see a premium "iPhone killer" on the market, all while customer satisfaction remains high and Apple continues to attract switchers away from Android. iPhone replacement cycles are likely lengthening due to macroeconomic issues, but we think that sets Apple up nicely for a bounce back in iPhone sales at some point if the macro picture improves or, more important, the firm delivers on innovative new features within future iPhones.

“Apple’s total revenue in the December quarter was $75.9 billion, up 2% year over year but at the low end of the firm’s previously forecast range, a rare miss by the firm. Revenue would have been up to $80.8 billion, up 8% year over year, on a constant currency basis. Apple sold 74.8 million iPhones in the December quarter, up by only 311,000 units or 0.4% year over year, with sales actually down on a sell-through basis to end customers. On the bright side, iPhone average selling prices were still spectacular at $691 per phone, up 3% sequentially, despite $49 of negative currency effects. We estimate that Apple sold about 5.5 million Watches in the quarter, which, if accurate, was softer than the sort of exponential growth we were previously expecting.

“For the March quarter, Apple expects revenue in the range of $50 billion-$53 billion, which would represent a 9%-14% decline from the year-ago quarter. Whereas China was still a hot market for Apple last summer, despite hefty stock market volatility in the region, management saw some softening in the Chinese economy earlier in January, particularly in Hong Kong, which bodes poorly for total iPhone sales for the rest of fiscal 2016. Our prior near-term thesis suggested that Apple would achieve modest revenue growth in fiscal 2016, but flat-to-slightly down revenue appears more likely at this point unless foreign exchange rates significantly reverse course. Nonetheless, 400 basis points of the 9%-14% decline will come from currency, and we still tend to think of the remaining 5%-10% decline in revenue as cyclical, rather than secular.

“We still attribute the weak results to stiff currency headwinds and sluggish macroeconomic conditions, which have likely lengthened replacement cycles for the iPhone as customers might be holding on to models for a little while longer. Apple cited that 60% of customers are using models older than the iPhone 6 series, which launched 16 months ago, which could be a data point that bodes well for pent up demand for future iPhones, possibly even an iPhone 7 next year if it has especially innovative features. By region, unit sales in China in the December quarter (up 18% year over year) were still solid, but demand was probably lower than last year in developed markets like the U.S. IPhone unit sales in India grew 76%, and although the region probably represents a nearly immaterial portion of revenue today, we think Apple is laying the ground work for future premium smartphone growth.

“IPad and Mac sales were both relatively in line with our expectations. IPad ASPs of $439, up less than 2% sequentially, suggests that sales of the recently launched, higher-priced iPad Pro didn’t set the world on fire, but given its focus on the enterprise, the holiday season likely won’t be peak iPad Pro gift-giving season either. Other product revenue was $4.35 billion, up 43% sequentially—while impressive, the sequential growth was lower than that of both the iPhone and iPad. We view the figure as a sign that Apple Watch and Apple TV demand is growing, but haven’t hit an inflection point toward mammoth growth either. Demand for more discretionary Apple items, like iPads and Watches, may also be muted in the near-term if economic headwinds persist.

“Finally, Apple shed some insight into Services revenue. Officially, revenue grew 26% year-over-year, thanks in part to $548 million of revenue from a patent litigation settlement. Excluding the settlement, Apple’s revenue grew 15%, but the firm highlighted that customer billings (including payments made to developers and content creators) was a bit higher, with 24% year-over-year growth. Apple also announced that one billion devices are currently active, a higher figure than our prior estimates and one that suggests hefty usage of older, traded-in iPhones. Yet we also wonder about the incremental value captured by Apple from users of older, used phones and whether this customer segment can move the needle for Apple’s services revenue in any way.

“Apple seemingly released these service figures as an attempt to appease investors that are looking for Apple to transform into a pure-play software company, which would perhaps be rewarded with a higher multiple. We’re skeptical of such a transformation. Apple’s software and services clearly capture value, but in our view, such value isn’t solely based on services revenue and earnings, but more important, Apple’s ability to maintain premium pricing on the iPhone within a smartphone market where virtually no other OEM can earn excess returns on capital. Such services also create customer switching costs (the source of our narrow economic moat rating) which we think will help Apple sell future iPhones and other devices to loyal customers over time. While we still don’t project double-digit revenue growth from the iPhone in the long-term, we think iPhone sales will be more resilient over time, thanks to such software and services, and that we haven’t reached peak iPhone just yet. All that said, when looking at services revenue, we’re pleased to see healthy growth but we also view it as a bit of a lagging indicator, with revenue rising thanks to massive iOS and Mac device sales made in current and prior years as customers remain engaged with these devices.”

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Brian Colello, CPA  on Morningstarin seniorianalyytikko osaketiimissä.

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