Kulicke & Soffa Industries' CEO Discusses F3Q12 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Kulicke & Soffa Industries, Inc. ( KLIC)

F3Q12 Earnings Conference Call

July 31, 2012 8:00 AM ET

Executives

Bruno Guilmart - President and CEO

Jonathan Chou - SVP and CFO

Joseph Elgindy - Manager, IR

Analysts

Krish Sankar - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Thomas Diffely - D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division

Lee Simpson - Jefferies & Company

Satya Kumar - Credit Suisse Group

David Duley - Steelhead Securities

Clint Derek Coghill - Coghill Capital Management, LLC

David Wu - Indaba Global Research

Andy Shapic - Private Investor

Presentation

Operator

Greetings, and welcome to the Kulicke & Soffa Third Fiscal Quarter 2012 Results Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Joseph Elgindy, Manager of Investor Relations for Kulicke & Soffa. Thank you. Mr. Elgindy, you may begin.

Joseph Elgindy

Thank you, Claudia. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Kulicke & Soffa’s fiscal 2012 third quarter conference call. Joining us on the call today are Bruno Guilmart, President and CEO; Jonathan Chou, Senior Vice President and CFO. Both are available for Q&A after the prepared comments. For those of you who have not received a copy of today’s results, the release is available in the Investor Relations section of our website at kns.com.

In addition to historical statements, today’s remarks will contain statements relating to future events and our future results. These statements are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Our actual results and financial condition may differ materially from what is indicated in those forward-looking statements.

For a complete discussion of the risks associated with Kulicke & Soffa that could affect our future results and financial conditions, please refer to our SEC filings, particularly the 10-K for the year ended October 1, 2011 and our other recent SEC filings.

I’d now like to turn the call over to Mr. Bruno Guilmart. Please go ahead, Bruno.

Bruno Guilmart

Thank you, Joe and thank you all for joining our call today. Results for the quarter were above the high end of our prior guidance, driven by our market leading copper position, as well as strong market demand for our AT Premier solution. The key themes to our continued success include our multi-segment leadership, flexible manufacturing strategy, R&D strength, free cash flow generation, and including debt-free balance sheet.

Our continued operating effectiveness is allowing us to maximize new opportunities that can provide to both near and long-term growth. We are clearly the market leader in the segments we serve. We continue to carefully evaluate synergistic opportunities where we can further broaden our reach by leveraging our technology leadership position.

For the June quarter, revenue came in at $255.5 million. This represents a 35% revenue improvement over the March quarter and was further strengthened by 230 basis points gross margin improvement, which was attributable to strong demand for our AT Premier product as well as pro copper equipment.

Later on during the call, I will provide some insights to the markets served by this unique AT Premier solution. Overall, strong revenue and gross margin results combined with continued operational cost control resulted in operating profits of $76.3 million. Our focus remains on extending our technology and market leadership, while pursuing areas that can reduce the cyclicality of our business.

We continue to capture all opportunities possible related to the ongoing and broadening transition from gold to copper and look ahead at wedge bonder volume improvements, LED expansion and advanced packaging growth opportunities. We are effectively managing our supply chain efficiency and keeping inventory at a healthy level.

In the June quarter, we experience an improvement of our equipment business, which was driven by higher ball bonder demand, 88.4% of wire bonders sold were to OSAT customers, an increase from the prior quarter. Demand for copper-capable wire bonders continued to remain strong, since the introduction of our pro copper machine almost three years ago, we’ve seen a steady increase in demand for this market leading solution.

Our considerable investments in R&D and process expertise, continues to strengthen our competitive advantage through this transition. This remains one of the most competitive cost saving options for our customers to-date. Approximately 79.7% of our wire bonders were sold as copper-capable. From our perspective, the transition from gold to copper will continue for the foreseeable future based on our current capacity levels and our understanding of our customers demand. We also believe the significant secular driver is very unique in the industry and it will continue to give us business advantage as we look ahead.

Slightly less than 5% of our ball bonders sold were configured for the LED market. We continue to work with LED customers, particularly in the high end of the market where our products are technically best suited and where we have a competitive advantage.

Turning to wedge bonders, our sales improved in the June quarter compared to the March quarter due primarily to modest improvements in the power semiconductor segment. Our sales in the auto and industrial segments were fairly flat. We anticipate our wedge bonder volumes to gradually increase over the coming quarters as existing capacity is been digested.

In summary, we’re pleased with our business performance in the June quarter. We continue to drive revenue margin and operational improvements and remain focused on expanding our technology and market leadership position.

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