Altera Earnings Call INSIGHTS: Sunny Communications Forecast, Customer Inventory Levels

On Tuesday, Altera Corp. (NASDAQ:ALTR) reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Sunny Communications Forecast

Ambrish Srivastava – BMO Capital Markets: Guys two questions, one for you John. Can you just give us a little more granularity in terms of the guidance, kind of what’s working what’s not working in the sub-segments in comp particularly and then a quick follow-up for you Ron, nice job on the returning cash back but your payout ratios is if I remember correctly less than half of your main rivals so kind of help just understand if you put it altogether priorities for cash and you guys have ton of ability to generate cash? Thanks.

A Closer Look: Altera Earnings Cheat Sheet>>

John P. Daane – Chairman, President and CEO: We are forecasting for this quarter for our communications to grow both telecom and wireless probably slightly sequentially for our industrial to be up, excuse me — industrial slightly up military and automotive up sequentially in the quarter again all this stuff is in the press release and for the computer networking storage business to both be down and then in the category which is sort of a catchall for the other markets for that general category to be up. Within the communications market we have seen overall an improvement within the environment. There have been several carriers that did increase their spending in the second calendar quarter on our CapEx which did flow-through you’ve got for instance telecom has been strong in China we’ve seen an improvement in wireless North America as well as our wireless in Japan and so we’re not expecting that there’s going to be a huge uptick in our forecast from this but we are expecting going from second to third calendar quarter’s that our communications business will be up slightly both in wireless as well as telecom.

Ronald J. Pasek – SVP, Finance and CFO: So in brief with regard to your question on returning cash to shareholders so we use the combination of dividends and buybacks we did over $200 million in buybacks last summer and about $170 million so far this year-to-date. As I indicated we have the double the dividend in the last two years. Keep in mind that only about 35% of the companies in semiconductor pay a dividend so we are certainly in the right category there. I think, you’ll see that over time we will continue to increase the dividend.

Customer Inventory Levels

James Schneider – Goldman Sachs & Co: John I was wondering if we could start off. In the communications market you gave some color there, by geography which is appreciated, but some of your rivals and also some of your other peers in the analog space for example have talked about some customers reducing inventory over the next couple quarters in the communication space. So can you maybe square that observation from others with what you’re seeing is it just a customer specific thing. Maybe talk, what you think your customer inventory levels look like in the comp space in particular? Thanks.

John P. Daane – Chairman, President and CEO: So we’re coming out of period of inventory destocking and so we think that inventory is extremely low on Altera product and I really don’t see any customers that — this quarter are going through an inventory depletion phase. I can’t comment on why other’s may be seeing that, but ultimately we’ve already gone through that ending in really the first calendar quarter and through the second calendar quarter. So we see inventory being very, very low in the customer base. Again we’re not seeing any push-outs or cancellations at this point we’re still seeing good bookings and strong forecast and backlog for communications in a number of the other markets as well.

James Schneider – Goldman Sachs & Co: Then as a follow-up on the military market that’s an area that’s kind of lagged for some time now. I was wondering if you see any programs on the horizon that would give you confidence so that can start to pick up again as we get into the end of the year or do you think with all the budget issues going on we are going to see continued weakness in that space for some time?

John P. Daane – Chairman, President and CEO: Actually if you think of the way that most governments work they do an annual budget and then procure to that budget. So, we haven’t seen the discussion of changes in future years’ budgets having an impact yet from that perspective. I think ultimately the two biggest opportunities that we see in communications arte probably the three, include radar, electronic warfare and secure communications I think there are several countries that are going to go through a radar upgrade both for our commercials as well as military reasons so I think that will continue to be a good market and I think for secure communication just because of all the cyber espionages going on, we do expect that military will be up for us sequentially in the third calendar quarter.