Broadcom's $2 billion warning shocks global chip sector

By Helen Reid and Arjun Panchadar LONDON/BENGALURU - Broadcom Inc sent a shockwave through the global chipmaking industry on Friday with its forecast that U.S.-China trade tensions and the ban on doing business with Huawei Technologies would knock $2 billion off the company's sales this year. The forecast, included in the company's second quarter results late on Thursday, was the hardest evidence yet of the damage President Donald Trump's trade war with Beijing may do to the global industry

Reuters June 15, 2019 00:08:14 IST
Broadcom's $2 billion warning shocks global chip sector

Broadcoms 2 billion warning shocks global chip sector

By Helen Reid and Arjun Panchadar

LONDON/BENGALURU - Broadcom Inc sent a shockwave through the global chipmaking industry on Friday with its forecast that U.S.-China trade tensions and the ban on doing business with Huawei Technologies would knock $2 billion off the company's sales this year.

The forecast, included in the company's second quarter results late on Thursday, was the hardest evidence yet of the damage President Donald Trump's trade war with Beijing may do to the global industry.

Shares in Broadcom fell 10% in early trading in New York, wiping more than $11 billion off the market value of the company, previously based in Asia but now with its headquarters and main listing in the United States.

U.S. chipmakers Qualcomm, Applied Materials Inc, Intel Corp, Advanced Micro Devices Inc and Xilinx Inc were all down between 2.5% and 4%.

That followed similar falls for European peers including ASML, STMicroelectronics, Infineon, and AMS.

"We'll see a very sharp impact simply because (there are) no purchases allowed and there's no obvious substitution in place," Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan told a conference call with analysts in relation to the Huawei ban.

Broadcom, which got $900 million in revenue from Huawei last year, also said, however, that the forecast cut "extends beyond one particular customer."

"We're talking about uncertainty in our marketplace, uncertainty because of the - of demand in the form of order reduction as the supply chain out there constricts - compress, so to speak," Tan added.

The semiconductor industry has been grappling with slowing demand since the second half of 2018 with bellwether Texas Instruments warning in April that a cyclical downturn could last for another two years.

That has related chiefly to signs that mobile phone markets in some major economies are increasingly saturated while mass demand in new areas like self-driving cars and internet of things devices for homes and offices is still developing.

The geopolitical risks from the trade conflict and Huawei ban are an additional shock.

"It's not just Huawei, it's deeper than that. Visibility is shot. OEMs [carmakers] aren't ordering. Inventory concerns, which were supposed to ease, have not gone away," said one European trader. "Goodbye H2 recovery hopes!"

Broadcom, known for communications chips that power Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS connectivity in smartphones, is also a major supplier to Apple Inc and shares of the iPhone maker were down nearly 1% premarket.

The CEO of chipmaker Micron Technology also said the ban on Huawei brings uncertainty and disturbance to the semiconductor industry.

"It's a broad-based decline they are now predicting," said Neil Campling, tech analyst at London-based asset manager Mirabaud.

"This is unlikely to be Broadcom specific but a trend to expect in H2 this year. A rebound for the chip sector, which many hope for, is highly unlikely."

(Reporting by Helen Reid in London, Vibhuti Sharma and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Josephine Mason, Susan Fenton and Patrick Graham)

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