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Semtech Investments in Internet of Things Pay Off

Shares of Semtech Corp. have increased in value steadily this year thanks to the Camarillo semiconductor manufacturer’s investment in emerging technologies and services including the internet of things. Semtech’s stock closed at $47.80 on Aug.1, a nearly 40 percent increase year-to-date. The solid growth comes as the company expects it could hit $1 billion in annual sales by 2021. For fiscal 2018, Semtech’s annual revenue reached $588 million. During a presentation to analysts in June, Semtech Chief Executive Mohan Maheswaran highlighted the company’s LoRA technology as a key driver of future growth. Semtech acquired the patented technology, which allows so-called internet of things (IoT) devices and appliances to communicate over long-range wireless transmissions, when it purchased French company Cycleo in 2012 for $5 million. In a note to investors, B. Riley Financial Inc. analyst Craig Ellis affirmed the technology’s potential. “We agree with (Maheswaran’s) view LoRA is emerging as an IoT game-changer,” he wrote. The internet of things refers to systems in which machines rather than people interact and exchange data online. For example, earlier this year Semtech partnered with Comcast Corp. to co-sponsor a program where city government agencies can develop and deploy IoT technology to control street lights remotely. By 2020, there will be an estimated 20 billion connected IoT devices worldwide, according to market research firm Gartner Inc. That’s a 78 percent increase from this year. And while many tech manufacturers are looking to compete in this emerging space, Ellis wrote that “LoRA’s patent-protected position creates uniquely powerful and moat-protected growth vectors” for Semtech. Another reason Ellis is bullish on the company is its $28 million acquisition of Canadian digital video broadcast company AptoVision, which Semtech completed last year. AptoVision’s software and cable infrastructure can be integrated into audio-visual applications to transmit high-definition video across networks. As internet speeds increase due to new developments such as 5G wireless mobile technology, analysts expect the online video market to grow dramatically. “Most incremental in our view is the recent AptoVision acquisition and its Blue River cable infrastructure products, an opportunity three to four times larger than (Semtech’s) current broadcast video market,” Ellis wrote. “Blue River sidesteps custom network needs with a disruptive-looking 10G Ethernet solution for a wide range of public video applications in transportation hubs, sports venues, hospitals and others.” Overall, Ellis expects the company to see continued revenue and margin growth, which will be reflected in its share price over the next four quarters. In the note, he updated Semtech’s target price from $57 to $68, giving the company a “buy” rating.

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