Silicon Labs' Stock Is One Way to Bet on 'Internet of Things' Growth

NEW YORK (TheStreet) – The unveiling of the Apple (AAPL) Watch on Monday has reignited interest in the "Internet of Things," a concept that common household devices can be controlled remotely through wireless Internet connections.

That's because one feature of the Apple Watch is that it will be able to control devices remotely.

That could be a boon to Silicon Laboratories (SLAB), a semiconductor company that makes products that help enable wireless connectivity. The Austin, Texas-based company makes analog and integrated circuits that can transmit signals wirelessly and can be used for such functions as keyless entry, and remotely controlled thermostats and security cameras.

The market for such products could be huge. Research firm IDC predicts spending on Internet of Things will rise 14% to $1.7 trillion this year and reach $3 trillion by 2020.

The question for investors is whether Silicon Labs is the way to bet on that expected growth. Analysts are optimistic and have a consensus buy rating on the stock, according to CNNMoney.

Silicon Labs' growth rate has been impressive. During the past five years, its revenue has grown 7% per year, while its Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, interest, depreciation and amoritzation) has grown almost 90% per year.

Shares of Silicon Labs, however, are expensive. The stock -- which was changing hands at $50.31, down 6 cents, on Thursday morning -- trades at about 57 times this year's estimated earnings. Also, Silicon Labs faces formidable competition from other semiconductor companies that make wireless chips such as Broadcom (BRCM) and Qualcomm (QCOM).

In short, Silicon Labs is a risky stock, but one that could yield big rewards if the company can grab a sizable portion of the fast-growing market for chips that power wireless connectivity.

 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author owned shares of Apple.

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