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Time working against AMD's asset-light plans

Sumner Lemon | Aug. 25, 2008
AMD wants to sell off its chip plants, but its financial problems will make that difficult, an analyst warned.

There's more to come in the months ahead. Later this year, AMD plans to release an improved version of its quad-core server chips, called Shanghai, and will introduce a line of processors in 2009 that combines multiple CPU cores and a graphics processor on a single piece of silicon. But given the scale of AMD's financial problems, great technology and products are not enough to restore the company's financial health in a relatively short period of time.

To that end, AMD executives want the company's fabs sold off as soon as possible.

During a July conference call with investors, Hector Ruiz, AMD's chairman and former CEO, who is overseeing the asset-light plans, told analysts he expected a deal to be completed by the end of this year. That timing is critical. During the same call, AMD CFO Robert Rivet warned he would feel "nervous" if the company's cash fell to $800 million, suggesting AMD would need to turn to the capital markets at that point.

That could happen during the first quarter of 2009, when the company is estimated to have $855 million in cash left, Berger said.

"We are assuming that AMD does not reach operating profitability in 2009 and will not successfully transition to an asset-light strategy by the end of the year," he wrote.


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