ON Semiconductor Corp. (ON), Large Cap AI Study of the Week

ON Semiconductor Corp. (ON), Large Cap AI Study of the Week

April 30, 2024

Weekly AI Pick from the S&P 500

Company Overview

ON Semiconductor Corporation, or onsemi, is a company incorporated in Delaware that specializes in intelligent power and sensing technologies, catering to the automotive and industrial sectors. The company's product offerings are vital for the evolution of electric vehicles, renewable energy, and enhanced automation and safety. It operates through three segments: Power Solutions Group (PSG), Advanced Solutions Group (ASG), and Intelligent Sensing Group (ISG), each targeting specific semiconductor technology areas. In 2023, onsemi focused on expanding its silicon carbide (SiC) manufacturing capabilities and optimizing its financial structure by repaying debts and strategically acquiring and divesting assets. The company's revenue streams are balanced between direct customers and distributors, with a recent trend towards more direct sales.

Onsemi competes with major international semiconductor firms and niche players, relying on its advanced fabrication technology, product diversity, and cost-efficient manufacturing to maintain a competitive edge. The company is a leader in machine vision applications and has a strong global presence, with significant operations in Asia. Sales are based on advance orders, and the company's performance is influenced by market demand, pricing, and customer order patterns. Onsemi places a high priority on protecting its intellectual property through patents and trademarks.

The company adheres to strict environmental and health regulations and is proactive in its environmental, social, and governance initiatives, aiming for net-zero emissions by 2040. Onsemi employs around 30,000 people globally and focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion, and competitive compensation to encourage employee retention. The leadership team, led by President and CEO Hassane El-Khoury and CFO Thad Trent, brings a wealth of experience from previous roles in the industry and strong educational backgrounds. The company's executive officers boast experience and education from renowned institutions and have played significant roles in their respective divisions.

By the Numbers

Annual 10-K Report Summary:

  • Revenue (2023): $8,253.0 million (a decrease of 0.9% from $8,326.2 million in 2022)
  • Net Income (2023): $2,183.7 million (an increase from $1,902.2 million in 2022)
  • Operating Income (2023): $2,538.7 million (up from $2,360.0 million in 2022)
  • Gross Margin (2023): 47.1% (down from 49.0% in 2022)
  • ASG Segment Gross Profit Decrease: $342.6 million (6.4% decrease in gross margin)
  • ISG Segment Gross Profit Increase: $31.9 million (1% improvement in gross margin)
  • R&D Expenses Decrease: 4% or $22.9 million
  • Selling and Marketing Expenses Decrease: 3%
  • Administrative Expenses Increase: 6%
  • Restructuring Charges Increase: $57 million
  • Interest Income Increase: Due to rising interest rates and new investment strategy
  • Effective Tax Rate Decrease: Due to a lower income tax provision
  • Cash Flow from Operating Activities (2023): $1,977.5 million (a decrease of 24.9%)
  • Cash Used in Investing Activities (2023): $1,737.9 million
  • Total Debt as of December 31, 2023:
    • $804.9 million in 0% Notes
    • $1.5 billion in 0.50% Notes
    • $700 million in 3.875% Notes
  • Common Stock Repurchase: Approximately 7.6 million shares for $564 million

Quarterly 10-Q Report Summary:

  • Q3 Revenue (2023): $2.18 billion (stable compared to Q3 2022)
  • Q3 Gross Profit Decrease: $27.6 million
  • Q3 Net Income (2023): $582.7 million (up from $311.9 million in Q3 2022)
  • PSG Segment Revenue Increase (Q3): 10%
  • ASG Segment Revenue Decrease (Q3): 15%
  • ISG Segment Revenue Decrease (Q3): 4%
  • Gross Margin Decrease (Q3): 1%
  • Nine-Month Revenue (2023): $6.23 billion (consistent with the previous year)
  • Operating Income Increase (Nine Months): $270.9 million
  • Net Income Increase (Nine Months): $323.1 million
  • ISG Segment Revenue Increase (Nine Months): 9%
  • Cash Reserves (2023): Approximately $2.7 billion
  • Available Credit (Revolving Credit Facility): $1.1 billion
  • Cash Flow from Operating Activities Decrease (Nine Months): Due to increased working capital
  • Cash Used in Investing Activities (Nine Months): Mainly for capital expenditures and an acquisition payment
  • Capital Expenditures (Nine Months): About 19% of revenue
  • Financing Activities Cash Used (Nine Months): $254.3 million
  • Debt Due Within Next Year: Except for the 1.625% Notes, no significant debt is due

Stock Performance and Technical Analysis

The technical analysis of the stock in question reveals a mixed sentiment based on various indicators. The current stock price is 12 percent above its 52-week low, indicating that the stock has found some support and distanced itself from its lowest price point over the past year. However, the stock is also trading 37 percent below its 52-week high, which may suggest that the stock has faced significant selling pressure or negative sentiment that has driven the price down from its peak levels.

The trading volume is a key indicator to consider. The recent daily volume is slightly higher than the longer-term average, which could indicate increased interest or activity in the stock. This may also correlate with the Money Flow indicators suggesting moderate buying pressure. However, the Money Flow indicators also point to distribution, which means that while some investors may be accumulating the stock, others are likely selling, leading to mixed signals about the stock's direction.

The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) is currently bearish at -2.93. The MACD is a trend-following momentum indicator that shows the relationship between two moving averages of a stock's price. A negative MACD indicates that the short-term average is below the long-term average, signaling downward price momentum and potentially more bearish sentiment ahead. Furthermore, the stock price's decline of approximately 7.84% in the last month, coupled with relative stability over the last three months, suggests that there was a specific event or change in sentiment that led to the recent decline, but the lack of further decline could signal that the negative sentiment has not been accelerating.

Overall, the technicals suggest that while there may be some buying interest in the stock, the prevailing trend might be negative, as evidenced by the bearish MACD and the price being significantly off from its 52-week high. As a stock analyst, I would recommend a cautious approach. It would be prudent to investigate the reasons behind the recent selling pressure, assess the company's fundamentals, and consider broader market conditions before making an investment decision. If the negative trend continues, it might be wise to wait for a more bullish signal or a stabilization of the stock's price before considering entry.

The ‘Bull’ Perspective

Upfront Summary:

  1. Robust Revenue Streams: ON Semiconductor Corp reported stable revenue of $2.18 billion in Q3 2023, showcasing resilience in its business model despite market challenges.
  2. Impressive Net Income Growth: The company has demonstrated significant improvement in net income, which surged to $582.7 million in Q3 2023 from $311.9 million in Q3 2022.
  3. Strategic Business Realignment: ON Semiconductor's recent restructuring, including workforce reduction and streamlining operations, is set to improve efficiency and reduce costs long-term.
  4. Strong Liquidity Position: With cash reserves of approximately $2.7 billion and a $1.1 billion credit facility, ON Semiconductor is well-positioned to navigate economic headwinds.
  5. Commitment to R&D and Innovation: Despite the risks, ON Semiconductor continues to invest in R&D, crucial for maintaining its competitive edge in the fast-evolving semiconductor industry.

Elaboration on Key Points:

  1. Robust Revenue Streams:
    ON Semiconductor Corp's revenue stability, particularly in the Power Solutions Group which saw a 10% increase, is a testament to the company's solid market position and diversified product portfolio. Despite headwinds such as supply chain disruptions and geopolitical tensions that have rattled many sectors, ON has maintained a steady revenue flow, indicating strong demand for its products. This resilience is particularly noteworthy given the broader market's volatility and the tech sector's recent challenges, suggesting that ON's offerings are essential and well-integrated into its clients' operations.
  2. Impressive Net Income Growth:
    A nearly 87% increase in net income year-over-year is a clear indicator of ON Semiconductor's operational prowess. This leap forward is the result of strategic cost management and operational efficiencies, which are especially commendable during a period where many companies are struggling to maintain profitability. This growth in net income not only reflects the company's ability to adapt and thrive in challenging economic conditions but also presents a promising prospect for investors looking for companies with strong earnings potential.
  3. Strategic Business Realignment:
    The recent realignment, including the reduction of approximately 1,360 employees and a focus on efficiency, is a proactive move by ON Semiconductor to streamline its operations and reduce costs. While such restructuring incurs short-term expenses, amounting to $54.5 million in severance costs, it positions the company to be more agile and competitive in the long run. The issuance of $1.5 billion in convertible notes and the new credit agreement further demonstrate ON's commitment to managing its debt effectively and securing financial flexibility.
  4. Strong Liquidity Position:
    ON's robust liquidity, highlighted by significant cash reserves and an ample credit facility, offers a cushion against market fluctuations and unforeseen challenges. This financial strength allows the company to invest strategically in growth areas such as silicon carbide (SiC) products, which are critical for future technologies. The company's ability to cover its financial needs for the next 12 months, despite potential challenges, is a reassuring sign for investors concerned about the impact of inflation and interest rate hikes on corporate finances.
  5. Commitment to R&D and Innovation:
    Despite the risks identified, including intense competition and rapid technological changes, ON Semiconductor's commitment to research and development is unwavering. The company's focus on innovation ensures that it remains at the forefront of the semiconductor industry, which is crucial for long-term success. While R&D investments do not guarantee immediate returns, they are essential for developing new and profitable products that can quickly adapt to market demands, thereby securing ON's future in a highly competitive landscape.

In conclusion, ON Semiconductor Corp's financial results, strategic initiatives, and robust liquidity position, coupled with its commitment to innovation, make it a compelling investment opportunity. While the company faces risks like any other in the tech sector, its proven ability to navigate these challenges and capitalize on growth opportunities speaks volumes about its potential for long-term success. Investors looking for a resilient player in the semiconductor space need to look no further than ON Semiconductor Corp.

The ‘Bear’ Perspective


  • Sluggish Gross Profit and Margin Compression: ON Semiconductor's recent gross profit decline and shrinking margins, dropping by 1% quarter over quarter, signal potential profitability issues.
  • Operational and Market Risks: The company's operational restructuring and market risks, including a $54.5 million severance cost for laying off 1,360 employees, raise concerns about its future stability.
  • Intense Competition and Technological Obsolescence: With rapid technological changes and intense competition, ON Semiconductor's R&D investments may not yield timely profitable products, impacting long-term growth.
  • Geopolitical and Trade Uncertainties: Tariffs, trade policies, and geopolitical tensions could further strain ON's financials, especially given its global revenue distribution shifts.
  • Liquidity and Debt Management Challenges: Despite strong liquidity, ON Semiconductor's recent debt issuances, including $1.5 billion in convertible notes, could weigh heavily on its balance sheet amid volatile capital markets.

1. Sluggish Gross Profit and Margin Compression
ON Semiconductor's gross profit has witnessed a troubling decline, with a $27.6 million drop in the recent quarter, coupled with a 1% decrease in gross margin. This margin compression is a red flag for investors, as it suggests the company is facing increased costs or pricing pressures that could erode profitability. In a sector where product life cycles are short and pricing competitive, even a small contraction in margins can have significant implications for long-term financial health. With gross margins already under pressure, there's a real risk that further contractions could lead to a sustained period of reduced profitability.

2. Operational and Market Risks
The company's decision to lay off 1,360 employees as part of a business realignment is a drastic measure that incurs substantial severance costs of $54.5 million. This move indicates potential instability within the company's operational structure. While layoffs can reduce costs in the short term, they often come at the expense of long-term operational efficiency and employee morale. Moreover, the broader market risks, including supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and inflationary pressures, present additional challenges that could hinder ON's ability to recover and grow.

3. Intense Competition and Technological Obsolescence
With a 10% increase in revenue for the Power Solutions Group but a 15% and 4% decline in the Advanced Solutions Group and Intelligent Sensing Group, respectively, the mixed segment performance highlights the company's struggle to keep up with the fast-paced semiconductor industry. The necessity for constant innovation and the risk of technological obsolescence put ON Semiconductor in a precarious position. The company's significant investment in R&D, essential for staying competitive, does not guarantee the development of profitable new products or the ability to adapt quickly to market changes.

4. Geopolitical and Trade Uncertainties
ON Semiconductor's global operations expose it to risks from tariffs, trade policies, and geopolitical tensions. With revenue distribution experiencing declines in Hong Kong and Singapore and increases in the United Kingdom and the United States, any adverse geopolitical developments or trade disruptions could have a disproportionate impact on the company's sales and profitability. For instance, the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China could lead to increased tariffs or trade barriers, adversely affecting ON's cost structure and market access.

5. Liquidity and Debt Management Challenges
While ON Semiconductor reports strong liquidity with cash reserves of approximately $2.7 billion, its recent financial maneuvers, such as issuing $1.5 billion in convertible notes, add complexity to its debt profile. Convertible notes can dilute existing shareholders' stakes when converted to equity, potentially leading to shareholder discontent and a drop in stock price. Furthermore, the company's acknowledgment of potential challenges from market fluctuations and changes in capital markets suggests that its debt management strategy could be tested in the event of increased volatility or rising interest rates, which could lead to higher cost of capital and reduced financial flexibility.