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Micron (MU) Prices Senior Notes to Boost Cash Position

Semiconductor company Micron Technology Inc. MU issued 7.500% senior secured notes of $1.25 billion in aggregate principal amount. The notes are set to mature in 2023. The company increased the offering size from $1 billion announced earlier this week. The offering is expected to close on Apr 26, 2016 subject to customary closing conditions.

The net proceeds generated from the offering will enable Micron to increase fund availability and finance its continuing working capital requirements, capital expenditure, and general corporate expenses; facilitate the repayment of upto 35% aggregate principal amount senior notes (due in 2019) and also pay related fees and expenses.

Micron said that the redemption date will be Sep 15, 2023. The notes will be redeemed at a price equal to 101% of the accreted principal amount, along with accrued and unpaid interest.

Micron also stated that the notes can be converted at any time in whole or in part before Apr 15, 2019, at a price which is equal to the original principal amount of the notes.

The enhanced capital deployment reflects Micron’s strong balance sheet as well as its confidence in long-term business prospects. During the first six months of fiscal 2016, the company generated cash of $1.88 billion

The company exited the fiscal second quarter with cash and short-term investments of $4.04 billion compared with $3.64 billion in the previous quarter. Based on this performance, Micron expects to spend more on research and development, capital expenditures and acquisitions, and at the same time devote more cash for stock repurchases.

What could be something of a concern is its liquidity, since Micron’s net cash position remains negative ($2.45 billion in the last reported quarter). Particularly so, since growth opportunities look limited in the near term, given the sluggish demand environment.

In the stringent regulatory landscape, this offering is expected to further enhance the company’s balance sheet as well as support its future growth. Additionally, it will assist the company to bring down its cost of capital. Moreover, continuous share buybacks will inspire investor loyalty through higher returns.

Looking further at the positive side, the acquisitions of Elpida and Rexchip (now known as Micron Memory Japan, Inc. and Micron Memory Taiwan Co., Ltd., respectively) will increase Micron’s traction in the memory market.

Micron is positive about the product launches and growing demand, particularly SSD products. The company has been constantly innovating in memory technologies, spanning DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash memory solutions, which are being widely used in the latest mobile computing devices as well as in consumer, networking and embedded products.

However, Western Digital Corporation WDC, which is in the process of buying out SanDisk Corporation SNDK, a key player in the NAND space, could increase competition in the industry.

Currently, Micron has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). A better-ranked stock in the technology space is Lexmark International Inc. LXK, with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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