In advance of Intel’s (INTC) Q1 report this afternoon, UBS Securities’s Uche Orji reiterates a Buy rating on the shares and a $34 price target, writing that the company’s strategy to offer its chip-making ability on a contract basis to others is “taking shape.”
Intel’s “Intel Custom Foundry” service is being used by network processor startup Netronome, taking advantage of Intel’s 22-nanometer process technology and its libraries for “system-on-chip,” or SoC, design, writes Orji. He also thinks Netronome’s products will boost Intel’s own networking offering.
In fact, the whole point of an Intel foundry, he thinks, is to fill out Intel’s portfolio:
We believe ICF is about much more than Intel looking to fill excess capacity, as its first 3 customers (Achronix, Tabula announced prior) would hardly be ideal for that role. Rather, we view ICF’s primary roles as either to build separate merchant chips that can create sales synergies with Intel processors or to integrate partner blocks that would increase the competitiveness & differentiation of Intel products.
New customers signing up over the next year, Orji speculates, could include programmable chip vendor Altera (ALTR), perhaps using Intel’s “Atom” low-power chip design, which would mean Intel would win a customer who’s already been using designs from Intel competitor ARM Holdings (ARMH), and using manufacturing services from foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM).