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My take on ARM Holdings plc

ARM is growing up and has considerable brand value to add on as it matures, on top of the value it adds as it grows by revenues and profit.

The April 2014 multiples were fairly high, then there was a correction of 12.5% below 5 year trend line.

But my target for ARM’s share price in 4 year’s time is £25-£30+, hitting these levels in at least one pre-emptive spurt before that time, given the typical volatility of the price.

Why, in summary?

I assume conditions remaining roughly the same in the longer run in terms of attitudes to financial ratios. The company will likely grow at least 20% a year given the market outlook for the current and new areas it sells into. On top of all that, it will add intangible value like better-known global electronics and ICT brands have done (see E&T Magazine April 2014 for brand value increases in electronics and IT). This intangible brand value will affect the share price directly, but may also help maintain or increase royalty and licensing fee rates that ARM can command.

Top 6 reasons:

1. has a beautiful business model involving tech licensing and royalties in high barrier, deep tech.
2. is yet fully to exploit its brand and go confidently shoulder to shoulder with the big guys who have the big, rapidly growing brand values in electronics and ICT. But it is beginning to do this through market diversification, corporate marketing, supply chain management and internal cultural development: remember Apple was its first customer!
3. has a beautiful strategy to push further into the markets it currently dominates (smartphones, which Analysts at IDC say is growing at 28.9% p.a.) – because those markets are still growing and the number of chips per phone is increasing while the phones get priced cheaper for global emerging markets.
4. is consistently growing itself on average at 15-20% a year, and has been for at least 4 years.
5. new markets are amazing, pretty much exponential, such as IoT (MCUs, radio, sensors, embedded) and ARM is better placed than anyone to exploit them and benefit from their general take-up.
6. any competitors that threaten are more likely to drive up the ARM share price if they succeed, as they might for a time be in a position to buy ARM, but it more likely that ARM will grow and become a feisty global brand, an icon of the knowledge economy in the next decade.
7. ARM’s price rose an order of magnitude in the past 5 years; these targets represent a considerable slow down in those timescales.
8. is investing not only in great R&D staff, but is also expanding its global marketing campaigns: innovation AND marketing.

So I am not moved by this little bump has happened because of a regrade by an investment bank and by a general forum about tech share levels. They bear no resemblance to 1999 in absolute financial ratio terms; and ARM bears no resemblance to a revenueless, USP-less dotcom.

In the big picture, you have a superb business, and the medium-term is looking excellent.

About CIR

Cambridge Investment Research (CIR Strategy) is an independent consultancy trading since 2002. Its Company Director, Justin Hayward MMath MBA PhD is invested in ARM. Justin Hayward, 45, is a former Hawking PhD student (early 90s) and a former Deutsche Bank quant relative value analyst (late 90s).

This note is not a recommendation to buy or sell a security.

National Competencies & CIR Conferences 2013

The competencies of UK industry as identified by the top institute for manufacturing in the UK, the IfM, are covered by the conferences in HVM and Cleantech in 2013.

CIR is offering a passport for the year, which costs £520 and will enable access to 4 all-day high-quality conferences throughout the year, beginning with Smart Grids & Cleanpower on June 5 and going on to a water-based general Cleantech Conference iWATER & HVM Disruptive on November 5. The typical cost to attend a single conference is £325, and conferences of this type are attended for around £900/day in certain quarters in London, so that this year pass is great value.

In particular, energy generation, management and storage are covered at Smart Grids and Cleanpower, with the themes “Grid of Things” and “Transition Technologies” respectively.

Along with iWATER and HEAT & SHIFT later in the year on 5 November, these cleantech conferences cover business and market growth and the issues of scarcity of energy and other resources.

The second broad category competence mentioned by the IfM is that of competitiveness, efficiency and effective manufacturing systems. This broad area is covered on November 5 at HVM Disruptive – a follow-up to the successful 10th Anniversary HVM Conference in 2012. In particular, the role of government in industry is considered. But the main focus will be on disruptive technologies.

Sectors to be covered across the HVM conference are:

  • materials: composites and coatings (inks, adhesives etc)
  • nanoelectronics, photonics, devices, sensors,
  • energy & storage – as we saw
  • biotech applications

More agile methods, such as 3D/additive printing will be covered on November 5 in connection with the new material graphene. These along with the experience economy represent a whole paradigm shift for sustained growth in Western economies.

The whole area of “Smart” through “embedded, connected intelligence everywhere” is covered in the cleantech events on smart grids (June 5), industrial (clean)power generation (June 5), water tech for smart homes and factories (Nov 5).

Building new business models to realise superior value networks is a core competence of CIR Strategy, which organises this year’s series of HVM and cleantech conferences in the Golden Triangle of Cambridge, London and Oxford.

CIR espouses the understanding of value networks rather than supply chains and is expert in advising on these and in designing conferences to bring together the relevant stakeholders in a value network. The rigorous method behind much of this is called “Routes to Value”.

CIR believes that there is excellent growth to be obtained in Western, mature economies that are faltering and growing much more slowly than developing markets. This additional growth and value can be added through service design so that customers can buy and use products and services more easily, and in a more engaging way. This leads to the more developed experience economy. A series of experience services can be called a transformation. Transforming your clients is a goal that all businesses in the UK should be looking to achieve. Doing so would engender the kind of growth that we have seen elsewhere in the world over the last 10-20 years and make a great number of lives in the West and elsewhere better.

Therefore, all five strategic themes within the IfM report for the TSB in 2012 are covered by the HVM and Cleantech Conferences by CIR in 2013. A passport for just £520 can be obtained for executives seeking to go on this journey in 2013, building knowledge, connections and doing business.

CIR very much looks forward to seeing you at the conferences on June 5 and November 5, 2013.

You can sign up for a 2013 HVM and Cleantech passport up to 31 March 2013 by calling us at 01223 303500 or emailing events@cir-strategy.com. Or you can book directly for a specific conference here (buy tickets).