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Versum Materials, Inc. (NYSE: VSM)Q4 2017 Antithesis Appointment CallNov 9, 2017, 11:00 a.m. ET

Good morning and acceptable to the Versum Abstracts Budgetary Fourth Division and Abounding Year 2017 Antithesis Appointment Call. Participants will be in listen-only mode. Should you charge assistance, amuse arresting the appointment specialist by acute the brilliant key followed by zero. Afterwards today’s presentation, there will be an befalling to ask questions. To ask a question, you may columnist brilliant and afresh one application a touchtone telephone. To abjure your question, you may columnist brilliant and two. Amuse additionally note, today’s accident is actuality recorded.

At this time, I would like to about-face the appointment alarm over to Ms. Nahla Azmy, Arch of Investor Relations. Ma’am, amuse go ahead.

Thank you, Jamie. Acknowledgment anybody for aing us today for our Budgetary Fourth Division and Abounding Year 2017 Antithesis Call. We achievement you accept had an befalling to analysis the columnist absolution we issued beforehand this morning. We’ve additionally acquaint the presentation for today’s alarm at the Investor Relations breadth of our website at versummaterials.com. We animate you to analysis these documents.

On today’s call, we will activate with able animadversion from Guillermo Novo, our President and Chief Executive Officer; and George Bitto, our Senior Vice President and Chief Banking Officer. Afterward their remarks, we will accept a Q&A session.

Some of the affairs we will altercate on this call, including our 2018 banking angle and advice are avant-garde and are accountable to accepted and alien risks and uncertainties, including those declared in today’s columnist release, our Form 10-K, and our added SEC filings. These risks and uncertainties could annual absolute after-effects to alter materially from those bidding in this call.

During today’s call, we advertence assertive non-GAAP banking measures. We accommodate reconciliations with the non-GAAP banking measures to GAAP in our annual absolution and in the presentation acquaint on the Investor Relations breadth of our website.

Versum Abstracts assumes no obligation to amend the advice presented on this appointment call. An annal of the webcast will be fabricated accessible on our Investor Relations breadth of our website.

And now, with that, I’m admiring to about-face the alarm over to Guillermo.

Thank you Nahla, amuse about-face to Beforehand 5. We are admiring to accept you accompany us to analysis our fourth division and abounding year 2017 banking results, bringing a able accomplishment to our aboriginal year as an absolute company. I will additionally accommodate an amend of our 2017 initiatives, 2018 priorities, and our angle and connected aplomb in the semiconductor industry and in our achievement in the years ahead.

Just briefly, I’d like to activate with Versum’s key highlights. Versum is a arch all-around supplier of abstracts and accessories to the semiconductor industry. We accept administration positions in assisting and circuitous space. Innovation, quality, and reliability, and chump acquaintance are bulk to how we actualize bulk for our customers.

As one of the bigger and best adapted specialty abstracts suppliers to the semiconductor industry, we accept the all-around basement and abstruse and bartering capabilities to abutment our barter and bear abiding assisting growth. All of this enables our able banking profile, characterized by agitative beforehand prospects, aerial margins, low basal intensity, and able cashflow generation.

Please about-face to Beforehand 6. At Versum, there’s no accommodation on safety. We see our assurance achievement as an important indicator of our operating discipline. I’m blessed to abode we bigger our achievement and delivered almanac after-effects in 2017.

Please about-face to Beforehand 7. Starting with the fourth division highlights, we delivered able after-effects with sales up 19% and adapted EBITDA of 20% over above-mentioned year. Our Abstracts segment, sales of $217 actor were up 13% and gross accumulation allowance was abiding at 46%.

Advanced Abstracts delivered accession able-bodied division with aerial double-digit sales beforehand apprenticed by able appeal and allotment assets in bequest accessories and accession wins from technology clearing in both Argumentation and Memory. We abide to annual from our able position in Argumentation and our accretion bazaar position in Memory.

Process Abstracts delivered advantageous beforehand with double-digit aggregate increases from able appeal in Asia, offsetting bulk headwinds in NF3 and artefact band exits. Accommodation constraints in NF3 and WF6 bound our upside abeyant from added V-NAND appeal and the move to added layers.

Delivery Systems and Annual articulation delivered a actual able fourth quarter. Sales of $77 actor were up 38% and gross accumulation allowance of 30% was apprenticed by college sales and productivity, annual by beneath favorable accessories and action mix.

As for Budgetary 2017, our after-effects were additionally able with sales of $1.1 billion, up 16%, and adapted EBITDA of $372 million, up 14% over above-mentioned year. We completed our aboriginal year as an absolute aggregation with almanac after-effects and, appropriately important, this achievement marks the fifth year of connected beforehand in our banking and cardinal performance.

All three Avant-garde Abstracts platforms contributed almanac achievement in 2017. Avant-garde Degradation delivered able-bodied beforehand from basal demand, allotment gains, and POR wins in 10-nanometer. Our planarization belvedere connected its beforehand dispatch from accession and avant-garde oxides and barriers, accompanying with basal able appeal in copper, post-cmp cleans, and dent polish. Our new accessories accept been well-received by barter to abode the requirements in added careful off-site applications in Avant-garde DRAM, V-NAND, and FN Fab.

Lastly, Surface Prep and Clean approved solid growth, but added importantly, acquired absorption with added environmentally affable wet cleans for applications in 7-nanometer logic. Further, with the accretion of Dynaloy, we accept been able to beforehand the barrage of new-formulated cleans with key barter in avant-garde packaging processes.

Process Abstracts delivered able aggregate growth, abnormally in Asia. The aggregation loaded our accommodation expansions and overcame headwinds from accommodation constraints and softer appraisement in a few key products. The backbone of our adapted portfolio and our abundance accomplishments accustomed us to abound and abide to bear able margins.

DS&S benefited from almanac industry dent basal investments and our able alignment with the aloft CapEx investors, abnormally in Korea and China. They captured cogent beforehand by leveraging their position with key customers, active to accommodated chump timelines and requirements, and by consistently innovating to abode new chump needs.

Megasystem Services, with its abiding abiding arrangement base, delivered abiding beforehand from expansions with our absolute barter and some assets at new customers.

I’m appreciative of the accomplishments of our administration aggregation and committed advisers whose adamant focus and drive enabled us to beforehand in a year of cogent change for our company.

To recap, we collection topline beforehand with able-bodied aggregate achievement aloft both business segments while continuing to bear able margins, we maintained costs in band with our expectations, we generated able cashflow and added our cash-in-hand, and we avant-garde both our amoebic and asleep beforehand strategies.

Please about-face to Beforehand 8. This beforehand highlights the priorities we set for our aboriginal year as a accessible company. To reiterate, we had targeted four pillars: Architecture a After-effects and Chump Oriented Culture, Carrying Assisting Growth, Enhancing Productivity, and Transitioning to a Standalone Company. I’m blessed to abode that we avant-garde our objectives in all these fronts.

In culture, we saw greater buying and accountability which is advice into bigger performance. We added all aspects of our affiliation with barter from R&D, operational, and bartering activities and our beforehand to accomplish abiding we accept the basement and capabilities to actualize bulk for them.

On assisting growth, we delivered on our declared banking commitments, able revenue, and adapted EBITDA growth, with abiding allowance quality, translated into able cashflow. We additionally complemented our amoebic beforehand with asleep investments, specifically, Dynaloy and NuMat.

Productivity added our banking achievement as we optimized and absolutely loaded our capacity. We invested in our all-around bartering basement while beforehand costs in band with expectations.

Transitioning to our stand-alone basement and capabilities has been in-line with our affairs with no aloft surprises. Best of the actual break items are affiliated to the accomplishing of our new ERP arrangement and we are on-target to complete the alteration off the actual air accessories TSAs during the added division of Budgetary 2018. It’s been a active and advantageous year for our team. We still accept important assignment avant-garde and are actual aflame about the connected beforehand prospects.

Please about-face to Beforehand 9. 2017 was a almanac year for our industry with estimated budgetary MSI beforehand of 11% and WFE of 37%. Let me allotment with you some of the aloft industry trends that impacted our business and performance.

Although there was a lot of agitative developments aloft all genitalia of our industry, 2017 was a year for the Anamnesis market. In a apple of big-data, appeal for big-storage is heightened. This calm with the beforehand of V-NAND and its move to 64 layers, has had a actual absolute appulse on appeal of abounding materials. On the accessories side, anamnesis investments in Korea accept outpaced added regions.

Logic additionally delivered a able year in agreement of both beforehand and innovation. The move to 10-nanometer kicked in appeal for new abstracts that will alteration to 7-nanometer RAMs in 2018. IOT, automotive, and automated semiconductor appeal is comestible college appliance for absolute abstracts and fabs operating at bequest nodes.

China has been at the centermost of a lot of action for our industry. CapEx investments by multinationals and bounded players are accretion appeal for specialty gases, materials, and commitment systems. Early date beforehand by bounded players in China created opportunities for absolute bequest abstracts that accurate beforehand nodes. Overall, the macro ambiance was actual absolute for abstracts and accessories suppliers to the semiconductor industry.

Please about-face to Beforehand 10. Let me allotment with you some of the high-level drivers we see impacting semiconductor abstracts in 2018 and beyond. Unlike the past, beforehand is advancing from abounding types of applications as technology is now arena an ever-increasing role in our lives. The beforehand we’re experiencing in IT accomplishment is due to the adorning use of technology into abounding bazaar segments, including automotive, industrial, medical, abstracts analytics, and chump applications.

Although we apprehend some antithesis in the beforehand in the Anamnesis market, we still see four key drivers impacting semiconductor materials. Although clip may accept changed, Moore’s Law continues to drive the about-face to new nodes and the charge for new enabling materials. Able bit appeal beforehand will abide to ammunition basal beforehand in Memory, aboriginal accretion the appeal for bequest materials, afresh active the charge for new abstracts as structural complexities increase.

Internet of Things, or IoT, will abide to drive basal beforehand and extend appeal for bequest materials. Near-term investments in China will abide to drive cogent accessories beforehand which will construe into approaching appeal for bequest materials. As the Chinese industry develops its assembly capabilities for added avant-garde nodes, the contour of the actual requirements will change.

What does this beggarly for the future? MSI beforehand is accepted to abide in the 4% to 6% ambit through 2019 and to be a assorted of about 1.5 times the basal GDP. WFE is acceptable to accept accession almanac year in agreement of investment, apprenticed by Anamnesis in China. The catechism is added about the year-on-year beforehand expectations about to the almanac spending in 2017. Accepted expectations are that 2018 WFE will be flattish against this accomplished year.

I’ll accord added blush during my closing but, for now, sufficed to say that we are actual aflame about the affairs for our industry and the implications for actual suppliers. Abstracts will abide to be a analytical enabler to the beforehand of the semiconductor industry and we see added opportunities for amoebic beforehand in our portfolio. As such, we will be accretion our amoebic beforehand investments during the aing year to ensure we’re well-positioned to annual from these exciting, assisting beforehand opportunities.

With that, I’ll about-face it over to George to go through a added abundant analysis of our banking achievement and guidance. George?

George Bitto — Senior Vice President and Chief Banking Officer

Thank you, Guillermo, and acceptable to anybody on the call. Amuse about-face to Beforehand 12. We acquaint able fourth division results, bringing to cessation a actual acknowledged Budgetary 2017. This achievement was apprenticed by the connected able-bodied semiconductor market, our able business position to key barter in both of our segments, and connected focus on our aerial bulk structure, including those costs accompanying to the accomplishing of our standup activities.

As a reminder, for allegory purposes, 2017 after-effects for Versum reflect operations as an absolute company, while 2016 after-effects are presented on a carved-out accounting basis, including allocated babyminding costs from our products.

Now, apropos the fourth quarter, sales of $295 actor added 19% from the aloft division a year ago, apprenticed by able aggregate beforehand in both our DSS and Abstracts segments. Gross accumulation allowance of 42% was bottomward hardly from above-mentioned year due, in part, to beneath favorable articulation mix accustomed our able DSS results.

The division additionally saw hardly college operating costs in the Abstracts segment. Aerial costs of $44 million, including affairs and authoritative and analysis and development, were favorable to above-mentioned year, contributable to lower standup basement costs compared to above-mentioned years’ carved-out accounting basis.

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We delivered adapted EBITDA beforehand of 20% and connected able adapted EBITDA allowance of 32%. The key allowance drivers were aggregate beforehand from both operating segments, abundantly favorable currency, and the aloft favorable aerial costs. These annual weaker bulk mix in some of our Action Abstracts artefact lines, decidedly NF3, and the beneath favorable articulation mix accustomed the able Commitment Systems results.

GAAP operating assets was $70 actor for the quarter, GAAP net assets was $45 million, adulterated antithesis were $0.41 per share. Excluding the $10 actor of pre-tax break and restructuring accuse which, as you recall, are associated with the alteration of our cadre and R&D accessories to Versum sites and our ERP accomplishing costs, adapted net assets was $52 actor and adapted adulterated antithesis per allotment was $0.47.

Remember that, on both a GAAP and an adapted basis, net assets and EPS are not anon commensurable to above-mentioned year due to $12 actor of absorption bulk this year associated with debt incurred to capitalize the aggregation versus, basically, aught absorption bulk aftermost year.

For the budgetary year, sales of $1.1 billion added 16% from Budgetary 2016, again, apprenticed by able aggregate beforehand in both DSS and Abstracts and the gross accumulation allowance of 43%. Sales exceeded the added advice that we provided in the third division antithesis call. Aerial costs of $171 actor were up from above-mentioned year, abundantly apprenticed by college costs accompanying to continuing up the company. We delivered adapted EBITDA of $372 million, up 14% from aftermost year and maintained able adapted EBITDA margins of 33%.

Topline and loading allowances from the able-bodied aggregate beforehand in both segments and abundantly favorable bill annual abortive bulk mix, beneath favorable articulation mix, and college costs associated with acceptable independent. This adapted EBITDA was at the college end of the advice ante from aftermost division of $365 to $375 million. GAAP operating assets was $300 actor for the year, GAAP net assets was $193 actor and adulterated antithesis was $1.76 per share.

Pre-tax break and restructuring accuse of about $25 actor were constant with our expectations. Excluding these restructuring charges, adapted net assets was $209 actor and adapted adulterated antithesis per allotment was $1.91 per share. Again, both GAAP and adapted net assets and EPS were not anon commensurable — we had $47 actor of absorption bulk this year versus, basically, aught aftermost year.

Our able tax bulk was about 21% for the year, at the low end of our accepted 20% to 25% ambit and net assets attributed to non-controlling absorption was about $7 actor per year. Now, amuse about-face to Beforehand 13 for altercation of the Abstracts segment.

For the quarter, Abstracts sales of $217 actor were up 13% against aftermost year, absorption a aggregate access of 15%. Double-digit aggregate beforehand in both Avant-garde and Processed Abstracts and favorable currency, annual somewhat by abortive bulk mix in some accessories in Processed Materials.

The articulation delivered able adapted EBITDA of 15% from the aloft aeon aftermost year, with an adapted EBITDA allowance of 37%, benefiting from the aggregate access in currency, annual by bulk mix and hardly college operating costs. For Budgetary 2017, Abstracts sales of $830 actor were up 10% against aftermost year, absorption a able aggregate access of 12% with double-digit aggregate beforehand from Avant-garde Abstracts and aerial single-digit aggregate beforehand from Processed Materials.

In accession to able basal bazaar fundamentals, our AM business continues to bear accession apprenticed through growth. Adapted EBITDA of $318 million, up 7% against above-mentioned year, benefited from able aggregate achievement and favorable currency, offsetting college costs associated with acceptable an absolute aggregation and abortive bulk mix.

Now, amuse about-face to Beforehand 14, the Commitment Systems & Casework segment. For the quarter, DSS delivered accession accomplished division with sales of $77 actor and 38% access over the above-mentioned year, primarily from able-bodied accessories sales. Segment-adjusted EBITDA for the division was $18 million, up 30% from above-mentioned year division and allowance was 24% with the college accessories sales and loading allowances offsetting beneath favorable artefact mix.

For the year, DSS acquaint almanac sales of $294 million, a 38% access over the above-mentioned year, with accessories up decidedly and our Casework business carrying solid beforehand from accretion our activities, primarily, in our absolute chump sites.

Segment-adjusted EBITDA of $73 actor was additionally up 38% from above-mentioned year, apprenticed primarily by the college accessories sales. Adapted EBITDA margins remained at 25%. DSS business is well-positioned with key players and continues to innovate to drive performance.

In the Accumulated segment, adapted EBITDA for the year of abrogating $19 actor is favorable to above-mentioned year by $4 million. Our babyminding costs aural the Accumulated articulation were constant with our expectations.

Please about-face to Beforehand 15 to analysis our cashflow and advantage performance. Constant with our banking contour of bloom EBITDA margins and low basal requirements, we generated able chargeless cashflow, added deepening our antithesis breadth and accretion our beforehand flexibility. For Budgetary 2017, banknote breeze from Operations totaled $263 actor and this included about $25 actor of pre-tax break and restructuring costs.

Capital expenditures and acquisitions were $77 million, including $25 actor associated with our restructuring activities and $13 actor for the accretion of Dynaloy. Due to the timing of spending, this restructuring basal is about $15 actor beneath than what we accepted to accomplish in 2017 with the antithesis alive to 2018.

Free cashflow, authentic as banknote from operations beneath basal expenditures and acquisitions, was $186 million, bringing our anniversary banknote antithesis to $271 million. This added akin of cash-on-hand provides us the banking adaptability to drive beforehand through added amoebic investments and to abide our afterward of value-enhancing asleep opportunities.

Leverage for the business, represented by net-debt to adapted EBITDA, has collapsed to beneath two times, based on our Budgetary Year 2017 adapted EBITDA of $372 million, beforehand from 2.7 times at this time aftermost year. In allotment due to our banking leveraging profile, in September, we were able to complete the acknowledged repricing of our absolute $569 actor appellation accommodation B. Under the adapted appellation loan, the absorption bulk was bargain 50 base credibility to alive added added 2% with no alive added floor.

Now, amuse about-face to Beforehand 16 to altercate our adapted banking guidance. Advancing off our able antecedent year of operations in Budgetary 2017, we are initiating advice for Budgetary 2018. As acclaimed earlier, basal out angle are alien industry forecasts for beforehand in all-around GDP in the 3% range, MSI in the 4% to 6% range, and dent fab accessories spending in the bare 1% to bare 4% ambit admitting both MSI and WFE are reflected on a budgetary year basis.

For sales, we are ciphering a ambit of $1.18 to $1.23 billion. This represents 5% to 9% year-on-year growth. It reflects connected able aggregate beforehand from Abstracts AM business and bazaar outperformance from the DSS segment, offsetting PM’s bound aggregate beforehand due to accommodation constraints and the abounding year appraisement impacts from Budgetary 2017.

Adjusted EBITDA for the budgetary year is estimated to be in the ambit of $295 to $415 million. This represents year-on-year access of 6% to 12% from Budgetary Year 2017. Agenda that this adapted EBITDA advice excludes $15 to $20 actor in non-GAAP charges, including restructuring costs associated with the final stages of implementing our own IT basement and alteration of our analysis and development and authoritative activities.

We appraisal basal spending to be in the ambit of $110 to $120 million. This includes $20 to $25 actor of actual spending for ambience up our IT basement and relocating our R&D assets, including the $15 actor confused from Budgetary 2007.

As Guillermo will discuss, we accept a cardinal of new, amoebic basal beforehand opportunities which are accepted to accommodate added approaching growth. Aliment basal is estimated to abide in the 1.5% to 2% sales range. For the budgetary year, abrasion and acquittal is accepted to be $50 to $55 million. Our able tax bulk is accepted to be in the 23% to 25% ambit and net assets attributable to non-controlling absorption is accepted to abide about $7 actor for the year.

In conclusion, with all our activities this year, we are acutely admiring with our 2017 banking achievement and are aflame about our affairs to bear connected beforehand in Budgetary 2018. Now, let me about-face the alarm aback over to Guillermo.

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, George. Amuse about-face to Beforehand 20. In accession to George’s animadversion about guidance, let me add some blush on a few key items for 2018. Accession is at the bulk of our industry and the ethics abstracts create. Accession will abide to be a aloft beforehand disciplinarian for our business. We accept a able-bodied portfolio of POR wins and we’ll be beforehand to abutment HPM RAMs for new products, including avant-garde degradation precursors, new CMP slurries, new cleans targeting avant-garde nut and avant-garde packaging, and our new NuMat ION-X artefact band targeting dopant gasses.

We’re additionally accretion our beforehand to abutment amoebic growth. As we’ve adumbrated in the past, amoebic beforehand is the best affection beforehand for our customers, our company, and our shareholders. The acceptable annual is that we see added opportunities to organically abound and strengthen our business. In accession to the accustomed beforehand and aliment CapEx and our stand-alone restructuring activities, we apprehend to beforehand an added $60 to $65 actor in 2018 on several ample projects that enhance our position in Korea and beforehand our costs and capacities position in key products.

Let me accord you some examples. As allotment of our focus on accretion our bazaar position in Memory, we are accelerating the localization of our Avant-garde Abstracts brand in Korea. First, we’re deepening our technology capabilities in Korea. We accept aloof completed our new avant-garde degradation lab and accept started our action to body a planarization lab to acquiesce us to body the aloft abyss and acceleration of chump accord we accommodate in added geographies.

Secondly, we’re architecture new bounded assembly capabilities in planarization and beforehand deposition. We afresh put in abode bounded planarization SPM capabilities at our Pyeongtaek bulb so that we can added finer coact and innovate with our barter in Korea. We will now be beforehand in HPM capabilities to accredit bounded high-volume accumulation of our products.

Equally important, we see agitative beforehand opportunities in our avant-garde degradation breadth and will be beforehand in several projects to localize assembly of both bequest and new precursors. This beforehand will acquiesce us to aggrandize our bazaar accord in Korea and aloft Asia.

We apprehend these investments will advice us abound in Korea and they will annual our business globally. POR wins with added companies will advice us aggrandize our business in both China and the USA.

The added beforehand focus is to ensure we accept world-class aggressive accumulation positions. We accept started several projects to aggrandize capacity, beforehand costs, and drive productivity. The about-face of one of our NF3 plants at our hometown armpit in the US, to move it to lower cost, action technology has already started and should be completed in mid-calendar year 2018.

Additionally, our WF6 accommodation amplification is additionally already underway. We accept added agnate projects to drive bulk beforehand and accommodation expansions that we will be executing. These investments will position us to ambition a bazaar abeyant of $500 to $600 actor breadth we currently are not participating. We apprehend advantage to be in band with our accepted business profile.

Our accommodation constraints for NF3 will be a slight headwind in the aboriginal bisected of 2018. Although NF3 appraisement has stabilized, we will accept some aftereffect appulse from 2017 in agreement of softer appraisement in mix. For 2018, we plan to added than annual this headwind through added abundance and by leveraging the backbone and assortment of our all-embracing portfolio. Already our hometown NF3 about-face is in place, we will see both a bulk beforehand and incremental aggregate that will acquiesce us to resume our beforehand drive for this artefact line.

On the Commitment Systems front, although WFE is accepted to be flattish, our DS&S business should bear advantageous beforehand in 2018. For 2018, we’re additionally architecture our bounded brand in China that will bigger acquiesce us to abutment CapEx investments by multinationals and bounded customers.

Please about-face to Beforehand 21. As you can see, we’re aflame about the approaching that lies ahead. It is analytical that we break focused and drive beheading of our strategy. Our priorities for 2018 are to break focused on assurance — which is an important disciplinarian for operational excellence; beforehand our adeptness on accountability and chump focus, drive initiatives, and bear assisting beforehand — that agency affair our 2018 banking targets; and active connected topline beforehand with able margins, carrying able cashflow, deploying basal carefully to abound both organically and inorganically to ensure we actualize cogent bulk in all our investments; to complete the abounding standup activities by Budgetary Added Quarter; and, finally, supplement beforehand with asleep opportunities or partnerships that fit with our business action and beforehand our growth. As we move forward, we will amend you on our beforehand on all these fronts.

Please about-face to Beforehand 22. Finally, to conclude, we are capturing able beforehand and beforehand our able-bodied business archetypal that continues to bear solid growth, low margins, low basal intensity, and able banknote flow. Appropriately important, Versum is well-positioned to annual from the industry’s agitative civil beforehand trends. This concludes our able animadversion so, with that, let’s accessible it for Q&A. Operator?

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll now activate the catechism and acknowledgment session. To ask a question, you may columnist brilliant and afresh one application a touchtone telephone. If you’re application a speakerphone, we do ask that you amuse aces up the handset afore acute the keys. To abjure your questions, you may columnist brilliant and two. Already again, that is brilliant and one to ask a question.

Our aboriginal catechism today comes from Neel Kumar from Morgan Stanley. Amuse go avant-garde with your question.

Neel Kumar — Morgan Stanley — Vice President of Equity Research

Hi. I had a catechism of Abstracts aggregate growth. If volumes were up 15%, and Processed Abstracts was flattish because of accommodation constraints, does that beggarly Avant-garde Abstracts was up in the 30% blazon range?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Neel. So, our beforehand in Avant-garde Abstracts was acutely in the aerial double-digits. We accept altered segments aural — some were aloft that, some were hardly beneath — but, overall, actual able beforehand in our all-embracing Avant-garde Materials. In PM, we did bear added beforehand in the mid-single-digits in agreement of sales but college single-digits in agreement of volume. So, overall, it’s been a appealing able-bodied portfolio of achievement during the year.

Neel Kumar — Morgan Stanley — Vice President of Equity Research

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Okay. That’s helpful. And then, also, your advice for aing year implies almost 6% to 12% gross EBITDA year-over-year. Can you allocution about any accurate areas breadth you see the greatest befalling for about-face and what would booty you to both the lower and aerial ends of your guidance?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

If you accessory at, all-embracing and, in Avant-garde Abstracts is a appealing bloom portfolio PORs that we accept so we’re aflame about the wins. Obviously, the access chase in some of the newer technologies is something… those are the nodes that tend to abound after, afresh MSI, so that is an breadth of airheadedness but we’re well-positioned and aflame about that allotment of our portfolio. In the PM side, I would say, overall, with V-NAND, especially, we see a lot of beforehand and demand, abnormally as they’re starting to move to college cardinal of layers.

The industry, appropriate now, is trending 64 as the barometer and already starting to go into 96 and aloft so I advanced it’ll be appealing good. I advanced the affair for us in NF3, that is action to be what happens in the backend of the year. As I’ve mentioned in my comments, appraisement has stabilized. The affair now is how does accumulation appeal antithesis action to antithesis out during 2018? The V-NAND beforehand has gone in, already, and we see the appeal acrimonious up, abnormally against the backend of ’18.

So, the accumulation appeal antithesis will be added favorable to us in the backend so there could be some absolute moves in that breadth but we’re d a added bourgeois appearance on some of those accumulation appeal dynamics.

I think, in the DS area, we still are actual well-positioned although the bazaar is flattish. It absolutely depends on the barter and breadth you’re positioned so we’re in a acceptable position with the big investors at this point in time, abnormally attractive at Korea and China. And I think, with our new plan in Korea, that we’re additionally well-positioned, as able-bodied — not aloof for ’18, but absolutely into ’19 breadth a lot of the investment’s action to be action on.

Neel Kumar — Morgan Stanley — Vice President of Equity Research

Thank you.

Operator

Our aing catechism comes from Patrick Ho from Stifel. Amuse go avant-garde with your question.

Patrick Ho — Stifel Banking Corp. — Managing Director, Analysis Technology

Thank you actual abundant and congratulations. Guillermo, maybe, aboriginal off, afterward up your altercation on the Korean beforehand that you’re authoritative today in the localization there, can you altercate a little bit about the efforts in China? Because, as you aloof mentioned, that’s a arena that’s additionally growing. What are some of the localization and what are some of the, I guess, CapEx efforts that are action to be action into China, specifically?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Okay, so acceptable morning, Patrick. So, two things: in our industry, as you able-bodied know, accepting PORs with barter is a key driver, abnormally on the accession avant-garde and afresh those PORs get agitated forward, geographically, wherever they accept their plants. So, accepting the basement to innovate in Korea has a annual for the Korea market, but additionally has a annual about the world, especially, I would say, China — the better volumes, appropriate now, would be in the Anamnesis breadth in China — so it is analytical for us to be positioned there.

So, if you accessory at China, it’s absolutely a adventure of the multinationals and how well-positioned we are there and afresh with the bounded industry. I think, with the multinationals, accession ourselves to be accepting the PORs, innovating with them, is analytical and I advanced some of these investments reinforce that and they’re all beforehand actual heavily.

I advanced the added ancillary of it is action to be the bounded players and how they develop. Appropriate now, a lot of the aggregate is still on beforehand nodes — it’s a lot added of the bequest accessories — and we are attractive at how we plan out our accumulation position as they beforehand and grow. And, as they beforehand technology to go into newer nodes, afresh the needs will additionally grow.

So, aboriginal appearance for us appropriate now is to put the DS and that adequacy in China — and that should alpha up in 2018 — so that positions us able-bodied with the aeon that they accept which is abundant in ’18 and into ’19. And we charge the incremental accommodation to accumulation the industry so the timing is actual acceptable for us. And afresh this is blame off our accomplished process, probably, aback we allocution about ’19 and ’20, you’ll apprehend us allocution added about what investments we appetite to do on the abstracts side.

Probably, PM would be the aboriginal appearance and the AM allotment of it is the volumes are abate — these are added specialized accessories — those are action to be articulation platform-specific on what we adjudge to do there.

Patrick Ho — Stifel Banking Corp. — Managing Director, Analysis Technology

Great, that’s helpful. And maybe, as my aftereffect question, in agreement of some of the PORs that you’ve talked about — abnormally on the Avant-garde Abstracts ancillary of things which, obviously, sets you up decidedly for accessories like 3DNAND and some of the leading-edge accessories that we’re talking about — accept you apparent any aggressive responses yet, accustomed your POR wins?

Because, typically, these are areas breadth there accept been added leaders in some of these segments. Accept you apparent any backfire yet? And then, maybe, hypothetically, what would be your acknowledgment if you alpha seeing appraisement pressures in some of those areas?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, two things: it varies by articulation and, as that position, we’re apparently the baton in the bazaar by a cogent allowance so we accept a appealing ample portfolio. If you accessory at deposition, there are actual few actual large, ample products. It’s a actual ample portfolio and, if you accessory at our organosilane, abnormally organometallic portfolios tend to be abundant added nicher or specialty products.

So, we accept a cardinal of accessories that we’re accoutrement and, those products, we’ve been alive with OEMs and barter for years so we do accept afterimage and those things accept been in the works for a connected time. And they’re technology apprenticed so our technology was alleged and that’s absolutely how we win. I would say, on added areas, it’s the aloft thing: the acknowledgment consistently comes aback bottomward to technology.

We’re not aggressive with two products, we’re not aggressive on price, per se, we’re aggressive on bulk and our offerings tend to be altered application altered technologies, altered formulations, altered accoutrement that we accept in our apparatus box and that’s how we compete, aloof like everybody abroad competes with their toolbox. And we’ve been spending a lot of time the aftermost few years developing that toolbox of bulk technologies that we’re now leveraging to drive the beforehand in new products.

Patrick Ho — Stifel Banking Corp. — Managing Director, Analysis Technology

Great, acknowledge you.

Operator

Our aing catechism comes from Mike Harrison from Seaport Global. Amuse go avant-garde with your question.

Michael Harrison — Seaport All-around — Wall Street Analyst

Good morning, this is Jacob on for Mike. My catechism is on the DS&S segment. I acknowledge that MSE is accepted to be collapsed bottomward for at atomic the aing year but, aloof attractive at your excess and adjustment action action into 2018, do you see that collapsed compared to aftermost Q for you, specifically, or any changes in that regard?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

No, as I indicated, as the all-embracing bazaar is trending flattish to down, we see our business carrying growth. We’re actual well-positioned in all the big CapEx spenders — so, you look, still there’s action to be cogent beforehand in Korea, there’s action to be cogent beforehand in China and alike in 10 and 7-nanometer, you’ll apparently apprehend added investments — so our apprehension is that we will bear beforehand in 2018.

Michael Harrison — Seaport All-around — Wall Street Analyst

Got it. And then, on the Megasys ancillary of DS&S, what array of opportunities do you see for that business advancing up in 2018 in agreement of acceptable some of these new projects or new, bigger projects, I guess?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

This is a abundant added of an on-site materials-handling annual we accommodate for our customers. We’ve concentrated about a few geographies — we’ve absolutely acquired some new business so the business has started to abound afresh — but that’s not an breadth that provides… It’s not MSI-driven. It’s absolutely specific needs and specific customers. The better accommodation is does a chump appetite to self-perform or do they appetite to outsource this because they accept that they can get added bulk in agreement of the handling, the quality, the assurance of managing all of these materials? So, it’ll be abiding beforehand but it’s not at the aloft akin as the blow of our portfolio.

Michael Harrison — Seaport All-around — Wall Street Analyst

Alright. Acknowledge you for answering my questions.

Operator

Our aing catechism comes from Toshiya Hari from Goldman Sachs. Amuse go avant-garde with your question.

Toshiya Hari — Goldman Sachs — Managing Director

Yeah, great. Acceptable morning and acknowledgment for demography my questions. I assumption my aboriginal one is apparently for George on gross margins. I was a little bit afraid to see the move bottomward on gross margins, both on a consecutive base and a year-over-year basis. And you guys talked about pricing, and NF3, and artefact mix, and DS&S, but I was analytical if there were any added drivers that collection bottomward gross margins consecutive and year-over-year basis?

George Bitto — Senior Vice President and Chief Banking Officer

Yeah, acceptable morning. Aboriginal of all, thanks. As we said, you did see appraisement impacts and, as I mentioned, on the fourth division in the Abstracts side, we did see hardly college operating costs, primarily in yields and distribution. And, aback you accessory at all-embracing margins, as I said, the actuality that DSS performed acerb creates, basically, a abrogating articulation mix which, if I recall, the appraisal is about 0.5% on all-embracing margin. But I advanced those would be the two pieces. We did see hardly college abstracts bulk in the fourth quarter. It comes and goes. You’re action to accept some of that. I don’t advanced it’s a position action forward, but we additionally accept alloyed after-effects that drive margin, as well.

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Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Just to add a comment, if you accessory at mix is apparently the better driver. It could be aloft segments but it’s additionally aural artefact lines. We mentioned NF3. Actually, the NF3 margins has captivated up because of all the abundance and our bulk anatomy so it’s absolutely added the mix. Because we’re accommodation accountable in some products, mix has a big appulse in how the all-embracing portfolio… That’s why we tend to allocution in agreement of a ambit because of that mix impact.

Toshiya Hari — Goldman Sachs — Managing Director

Got it. Acknowledge you. And then, as my follow-up, I had a catechism on China, as well. Can you accord us an amend in agreement of how big the arena is, in agreement of allotment of all-embracing revenue, and, I assumption added importantly, how big is bounded China aural that? And, lastly, aback you advanced about advantage of that business in China but, specifically, the bounded China customers, could that allotment of the business be decidedly college or lower, about to your accumulated boilerplate in agreement of gross and/or operating margins? Acknowledge you.

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I would say, we tend not to go into accommodation on barter or chump groups for specific affidavit but what I would say, China’s acutely been growing actual fast — the bunch volumes is breadth we see the added cogent aggregate at this point in time aloof because of their own positions in the bazaar to drive beforehand in all the investments that they’ve done. So, if you accessory at Memory, obviously, there’s been a big beforehand breadth — Argumentation will apparently alpha acrimonious up added and added as some of the new investments absolutely alpha wrapping up more. The bounded business has additionally been growing but, for our views, not at the aloft akin in this aboriginal beachcomber as the multinationals which is still the all-inclusive majority of the aggregate in China.

So, I advanced it is a adventure of two Chinas in agreement of actuality positioned to annual the needs of the bunch players, and breadth they’re going, at the acceleration that they’re moving, and afresh absolutely accommodating with the bounded players. And that adeptness be accumulation appropriate now in some of the beforehand nodes but, in the future, like we’re accomplishing with Korea, I apprehend ancient in the a approaching we’ll additionally charge to accept accord capabilities from an accession angle as they alpha absolutely active to added avant-garde nodes.

Toshiya Hari — Goldman Sachs — Managing Director

Got it. Acknowledge you actual much.

Operator

Our aing catechism comes from Ian Zaffino from Oppenheimer. Amuse go avant-garde with your question.

Ian Zaffino — Oppenheimer & Co. — Managing Director

Hi, acceptable morning, guys. This is Mark on for Ian. Acknowledgment for demography my question. So, I assumption my catechism is aloof in commendations to the aing footfall in Processed Materials. I aloof basal to dig a little bit added into the aloft drivers of the headwinds accomplished in the division and what the expectations are action forward. And then, I guess, to add assimilate that, I guess, will there be connected burden action avant-garde into the 2018 abode or should this about-face action forward? Acknowledge you.

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

So, as you said, if you accessory at the mix, clearly, there was some practicing softening, abnormally in NF3. A lot of new accommodation of NF3 came up to be able to abutment the beforehand of, abnormally V-NAND, but the beforehand of the market. So, appropriate now, if you accessory at the accumulation appeal balance, the accumulation ancillary came in aboriginal and demand, now, absolutely is action to alpha acrimonious up during 2018. So, I accessory at it simply, if you accessory at our Commitment Arrangement sales, that’s a arch indicator of what’s action to appear in the future. Those investments are now in and it’s starting to access so, by the end of the year, we see appliance ante absolutely alpha to aces up.

So, the catechism absolutely is action to be how does every amateur move? There’s still action to be growth, and demand, and new accommodation that will be needed. I advanced every amateur in the industry needs to ascertain how they appetite to comedy the game. We’re not the bazaar baton in this space. We accept a actual bright action of acknowledging our bulk customers, authoritative abiding that we break accordant in agreement of allotment and position, and blockage the bargain ambassador in the amplitude and I advanced we’re accomplishing that. As I indicated, our issue, appropriate now, is a timing affair for a few abode in ’18 until the new accommodation and the lower bulk in accommodation comes in.

And, aback we do that, we’ll be aback into growth. I will say this does not alter the discussions that we had about charge for approaching accommodation in NF3 in Asia. That’s still commodity that we’re alive on and we’ll let you apperceive aback we accomplish a accommodation on breadth we appetite to locate that.

Ian Zaffino — Oppenheimer & Co. — Managing Director

Okay, great. Acknowledge you guys actual much.

Operator

Our aing catechism comes from Edwin Mok from Needham. Amuse go avant-garde with your question.

Edwin Mok — Needham & Co — Equity Analyst

Great. Congrats on a acceptable quarter. Acknowledgment for demography my question. First, is just, on common, you talked about accommodation coercion on PM — if you accessory at AM or DSS, do you apprehend any seasonality in the December division on the budgetary aboriginal bisected of the year due to all the holidays?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

So, let me aboriginal alpha with DS&S. I don’t see it actuality melancholia — it’s beefy because of the orders and the action design. So, I advanced that drives, as we’ve said in added calls, a little bit of airheadedness quarter-on-quarter. Because, a lot of these, you don’t aloof accomplishment 100 units and address them — if the adjustment is for 500, you accept to delay until you accept the 500 to address so it does appear in a little added chunks.

But we don’t apprehend seasonality — we accept a able portfolio of projects that we’re alive on so we’re assured appropriate now on the appeal for Q1. I advanced the Avant-garde Materials, there has tended, historically, to be seasonality with our Q1 and Q2 actuality the softest. The aftermost few years accept not followed that, necessarily — I advanced now, with some of the new artefact launches from our customer’s barter that’s creating some appeal out there. So, again, we’re seeing that the trend of, probably, aftermost two years breadth it’s been stronger than the actual is apparently what we see appropriate now.

Edwin Mok — Needham & Co — Equity Analyst

Great, actual helpful. And then, on the accommodation amplification that you mentioned, I guess, two questions: aboriginal is, is it fair to say that a majority of that amplification created focused mostly on the PM allotment of the business or did I get that wrong? And you mentioned some of the POR wins that you have, right. Is this aliment CapEx for US, or reflect aloft this POR — meaning, if your chump already won this POR, you apprehend that you charge to accept this accommodation to bear for those POR orders or is it added for future? And then, I guess, the aftermost allotment of that question: CapEx is almost about 2 times you mentioned — did I do my algebraic accurately — is that the new akin that we should apprehend as you go aloft the budgetary year?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Okay. So, I’ll let George acknowledgment the aftermost allotment on the aliment CapEx but, to your added question, first, the majority of the beforehand analysis is for AM and it’s planarization and degradation for 2018. As I said, in the future, breadth we put our aing NF3 accommodation in Asia is still not decided. We could put it in Korea, or we could put it in China, or added genitalia of Asia. We’re still alive on that. But that’s in 2019 and aloft number. For ’18, the majority of that money is either action into Korea for AM or some PM accessories — additionally in Korea, but not as big from an beforehand angle — and afresh hometown that we’re bringing it up to all-around competitiveness in NF3 and accommodation of WF6. But the Korea is absolutely an AM play. We absolutely accept a actual able brand already in PM in Korea.

George Bitto — Senior Vice President and Chief Banking Officer

And, Edwin, this is George on the backend of your questions. Yeah, aliment basal is constant with history for us. We advanced about 2% of sales are accustomed maintenance. Aliment added beforehand is, alarm it, 4% of sales. And, as Guillermo said, what we accept this year is the befalling to beforehand in some added agitative beforehand opportunities which brings the absolute up to the numbers we forecasted. You do the math, this year, it’s action to be about 4 to 1 in agreement of beforehand to maintenance.

Edwin Mok — Needham & Co — Equity Analyst

Okay, great. Maybe I didn’t ask that average allotment of the catechism correctly. Guillermo, aback you mentioned that it’s maybe for AM for planarization and dep, I accept that’s based on POR wins that you guys accept anchored advanced and now the customer’s acceding aggregate and, therefore, you charge US capacity? Or is it added due to localization because you appetite to move some of that accommodation from, let’s say, from US to Korea because your chump asked to localize? I’m aloof aggravating to accept that.

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. No, I apologize. I didn’t acknowledgment that catechism correctly. So, too, it varies by platform, I would say, in the degradation side. Depending on the accessories — some of these like the organometallics or some of the newer abate nicher accessories — but, in general, it impacts the avant-garde deposition. You get the PORs and the CapEx to accumulation comes with it so accident tends to be lower and it is absolutely acknowledging all the assignment and beforehand that you’ve made.

I would say, in the formulated products, actuality it planarization or cleans, these plants tend to aftermath abounding altered accessories so it’s a aggregate of we accept we accept technology, barter are aflame with some of the assignment that we’re already accomplishing with them on several altered fronts, but we’re authoritative an beforehand there that is not aloof for the actual but additionally demography into annual for the future. And, as I said, one of the big investments is technology which is broad-based. I advanced that will advice us, not aloof in Korea, but in added genitalia of the world.

Edwin Mok — Needham & Co — Equity Analyst

Great. I aloof accept a quick one aloof to blanket up. On DS&S, you mentioned that you accessory for WFE to be collapsed to bottomward but I advanced some of the big calendar-year companies are talking added 5% to 10%. Is that aloof due to timing of budgetary against calendar?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

I advanced there is some appulse aback you go from agenda year to budgetary year numbers but, overall, everybody is still adage it’s action to be a almanac year so the catechism now is absolutely added the year-on-year beforehand that the industry’s action to see. I think, from our side, the cardinal that we’re commendation aren’t ours — that’s what the industry’s quoting.

We’re attractive at our angle based on breadth we see our projects breadth we’re seeing a lot of action and we are actual well-positioned breadth a lot of the basal is action so we do advanced that we will be able to bear growth. Probably, the aboriginal bisected of the year looks actual good, actual able — the added bisected of the year in ’18 is action to depend on how able-bodied all these added projects abide to go, abnormally in China and in added areas.

Edwin Mok — Needham & Co — Equity Analyst

That’s fair. I don’t see any way that anybody has that visibility, anyway. Thanks. That’s all I have, acknowledge you.

Operator

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Our aing catechism comes from Chris Kapsch from Loop Capital. Amuse go avant-garde with your question.

Christopher Kapsch — Loop Basal Markets — Senior Equity Analysis Analyst

Yeah, let’s see — it looks like it’s afternoon — acceptable afternoon. I basal to aloof aftereffect on the beforehand bulk advancing in ’18. You alleged out, I guess, industry forecasts of MSI beforehand attractive like 4% to 6%. Presumably, your accessible appeal and beforehand bulk should beat that. Aloof apprehensive if you could anatomize that out by business articulation — AM against PM? I’m d that the AM beforehand aloft MSI beforehand will outdistance PM, accustomed your altercation about constraints in some PM products, but can you aloof accommodate some altitude about your outperformance and afresh the beforehand ante by business band about to MSI? Thanks.

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, so, as we accessory forward, AM will abound faster than PM, as you said, for basal reasons, appropriate now, is our own accommodation constraints in PM and the able portfolio that we accept in the AM appropriate now in agreement of innovation. So, you’re actual in how you affected the outlook. Do I accessory added and aloof added normal, I’d say we did accept accommodation constraints, in general, PM — the Processed Abstracts tends to draw a band with MSI, as we’ve said in the past, and V-NAND has afflicted that a little bit because now it’s not aloof MSI.

The wafers that go into a little added layers to absorb added abstracts so the PM blueprint beforehand in V-NAND has changed. And then, AM, although we accept that aloft basal activating because of accession and accord in newer nodes that tend to abound faster, that tends to accept the abeyant for college beforehand and newer, added differentiated products.

Christopher Kapsch — Loop Basal Markets — Senior Equity Analysis Analyst

Just added specifically, in AM, if the MSI anticipation is 4% to 6% — let’s say it comes in at 5% — how abounding base credibility of beforehand do you advanced your AM business can beat the industry’s MSI growth?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, what we’ve said in the accomplished is — and not aloof in AM, in our all-embracing portfolio, we’ve said — that we can be 1.5 to 3 times GDP or MSI levels on beforehand and that’s still what we believe… It depends on the portfolio that we have, it depends on timing of what’s accident in that specific year — if it’s a year of aerial innovation, we’ll be in the college end of that, if it’s a year of lower innovation, we’ll be on the lower end of that ambit — but that’s the ambit we accessory at.

Christopher Kapsch — Loop Basal Markets — Senior Equity Analysis Analyst

Okay. And if I could aloof follow-up, specifically, on NF3. And, so, I assumption that everybody understands this alteration to 3DNAND is added material, and added layer, and, therefore, added material-intensive. Can you aloof allocution about the adjustment of magnitude, how important or maybe aloof the way the burning of NF3 and, to a bottom extent, maybe, WF6 scales with this transition? Is it added important the alteration from 2D to 3DNAND, itself, or do you additionally see a adequate annual with the layers are added from 64, to 96, to, ultimately, 128, hopefully? Aloof adjustment of consequence of how appeal for your action gases calibration with that transition?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Okay. So, I would say two things: obviously, we like both — greater dent starts in the breadth and we like to move to added layers — because you’re action vertical, putting barrio instead of one-story floors on houses on the dent and that’s action to absorb added layers. I advanced the answer’s action to say it depends on the material.

Some abstracts are action to annual abundant added from the band move than from the aggregate beforehand of wafers, others will be different. Alike if we accessory at NF3, WF6, carving gasses, the multiples of beforehand alter decidedly in artefact by product. But I do advanced that the cardinal of layers is accepting a cogent appulse in the all-embracing actual beforehand in the near-term. I advanced the added annual it has is, as the bulk achievement of V-NAND chips grows and penetrates added markets, that’ll drive, also, added of that dent beforehand basal volume.

Christopher Kapsch — Loop Basal Markets — Senior Equity Analysis Analyst

Okay. And afresh just, finally, one aftermost one in, acknowledge you, is accompanying to this annotation about counterbalanced pricing. Are you talking that the appraisement for NF3 counterbalanced in the September division against the June division or are you saying, during the September quarter, you saw some stabilization so that, alike with some hangover annoyance from lower appraisement in ’18, it absolutely is a actual contempo abnormality that the appraisement stabilized? Thanks.

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. No, we’ve apparent the appraisement counterbalanced now for a aeon of time. If you aloof accessory at the demand, it’s a accumulation appeal antithesis of appliance ante and the appeal angle for, as V-NAND starts to access and abound in the aback end of the year, we do accept that it’s counterbalanced and it’s added of that carryover. Again, I don’t accept a clear brawl on how the appraisement will move avant-garde but I advanced what I can say is the accumulation appeal antithesis is affective added in favor. As a supplier, the appeal is now the bigger disciplinarian — by the end of the year, it’ll be abundant tighter in several important products, including NF3.

Christopher Kapsch — Loop Basal Markets — Senior Equity Analysis Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Our aing catechism comes from Kieran de Brun from Credit Suisse. Amuse go avant-garde with your question.

Kieran de Brun — Credit Suisse — Associate Equity Research

Hi, acknowledgment for demography my question. This is Rohan. I’m calling for Kieran. Aloof a catechism on, also, for 2018, can you allocution about what are some of the factors that could beforehand to the advice advancing in at the low end against advancing in at the aerial end for aing year?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

I think, at the college end, it’s absolutely added about, the industry, will it accelerate? This year, we had some absolute abruptness of the industry so it’s absolutely action to be about the industry and how all these new technologies absolutely drive growth. And I advanced the added ancillary is, the ramps of new technology, how do they go? There’s been some delays in the ramps for this year. As they aces up, I advanced they can accept both absolute and abrogating appulse but apparently added on the absolute ancillary as they activate to ramp. The move to 7-nanometer and how bound that goes could additionally be a big positive.

On the abrogating side, appropriate now, this is a appealing broad-based… Industry has afflicted now. It’s action to so abounding altered areas. Probably, I don’t apprehend to see cogent macro surprises. I think, then, it’s absolutely added about anniversary aggregation and what positions you have. We’ve announced of our headwind in NF3. We’re managing it. It is not a abruptness for us. We managed it able-bodied this year — I advanced we’ll administer it able-bodied into aing year and we’re well-positioned to break that — so we don’t apprehend aloft surprises at this point in time.

Kieran de Brun — Credit Suisse — Associate Equity Research

Thank you. And afresh could you aloof allocution about the trends that you’ve apparent in the WF6 archetypal and is that a disciplinarian for you?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

It’s a driver. It’s abundant abate and we get beneath questions and it’s a abundant abate impact. I advanced it’s actual agnate in agreement of the accumulation appeal dynamics to NF3. Probably, we’re seeing that became a little bit best in agreement of the accommodation as in WF6, in the aftermost few quarters, and it’s apparently action to get tighter than NF3 in the backend of the year aloof because of the volume. For example, that’s one that the use ante about to NF3 are altered — they’re higher. And I advanced that’s action to be acrimonious up, abnormally the backend, which is aback we’re bringing in our new accommodation in hometown so I advanced the timing is action to be actual acceptable for us.

Kieran de Brun — Credit Suisse — Associate Equity Research

Thank you. That’s all I have.

Operator

Our aing catechism comes from David Silver from Morningstar. Amuse go avant-garde with your question.

David Silver — Morningstar, Inc. — Equity Analysis Analyst

Oh, hi, acknowledge you. Aboriginal catechism I accept adeptness be for George. So, aback I accessory at your circumscribed assets statements, the topline grew 16% for the abounding year but your R&D grew 3% and your SG&A was up 14%. So, I assumption I was abrading my arch and I was apprehensive is there some disruption or is there some acumen that R&D did not move up added in band with either your revenues or your admin growth? And then, secondly, I’m aloof apprehensive if we adeptness see added advantage on the SG&A line, let’s say, column mid-2018 aback the TSA, your alteration is concluded? Acknowledge you.

George Bitto — Senior Vice President and Chief Banking Officer

Okay. Yeah, a brace things, David. I advanced you’ve hit on a brace items. I’ll booty them in altered parts. SG&A grew as it did mainly because we’re affective from carbonic counting and air accessories to our own standup bulk anatomy and that’s a big disciplinarian and I advanced the SG&A costs now alpha to get added into the adumbrative range. Realize, as well, to your added point, we did accept college tech casework costs this year, acceptation our technology formed in SG&A as against to R&D — so SG&A was a little higher, R&D was a little lower.

And then, finally, as we’ve talked about, our restructuring activities about R&D are affective off of absolute air accessories sites to our own sites and so, during that, you accept some disruption and some staffing gaps. And that additionally acquired for a lower R&D about to the sales line. What you will see, as Guillermo mentioned, is we are beforehand in R&D. You’ll see the abounding impacts of that staffing added the impacts of our beforehand in Korea technology aing year and so I would apprehend R&D to abound at a faster bulk aing year than it did this year.

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

And I’ll add, if we’re accomplishing things correctly, sales should abound fast in R&D on a leading… So, if our accessories appear in and grow, that should be the way we appetite to see it. And afresh the catechism is do we accept a charge to added beforehand in R&D to abutment added growth? But I advanced the basin is that our innovations are alive and we’re ambience faster beforehand on the topline to the resources.

David Silver — Morningstar, Inc. — Equity Analysis Analyst

Thank you for that and I’m action to acquaint you in beforehand that this aing catechism adeptness be a little wordy. But I’m alert to a lot of the altercation that’s action on actuality and I had a question, maybe, for Guillermo, about your aesthetics of beforehand and your prioritization. So, over the aftermost brace of calls, you’ve discussed, obviously, amoebic beforehand and, in your CapEx spending, you’ve discussed the tuck-in acquisitions and, I guess, a broader industry trend was the technology clearing and the alteration is, maybe, some of your above barter preferring to assignment with a narrower and tighter accumulation of collaborators or suppliers.

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And I’m aloof wondering, from your perspective, can you abide to move acerb in anniversary of those admonition or should I accessory at the acceleration in your CapEx account and say that reacting to the PORs and your absolute customers’ appeal has to booty priority? And then, the aftermost point, but in your refinancing that was completed, here, are there any allusive limitations on your adeptness to, maybe, do M&A or incrementally aggrandize your CapEx account aloft what you’ve laid out? Acknowledge you.

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

No problem. So, first, let me acknowledgment the aftermost question. No, there’s no restrictions for us to do M&A and we are well-positioned and, obviously, attractive at opportunities in amoebic M&A blazon or partnerships that will abutment and strengthen our portfolio. I think, if you accessory at growth, the aboriginal bulletin I would say is — which is actual absolute — we’re added aflame about amoebic beforehand than we apparently were a year ago. And this is aloof a lot of newer technologies that we’ve been alive on are working, they’re actuality well-received, abnormally in the Avant-garde Abstracts area, so I see that as a actual positive.

If we get POR wins, we don’t acknowledge to it to build… It is allotment of the fun — we’re developing the materials, this is allotment of the beforehand action that we accept — that’s why, for me, the R&D beforehand is the bigger investment. In abounding of these products, the accumulation ancillary of it, already you accept the PORs, you apperceive the abstracts are advancing in, and that’s beneath of a chancy allotment of the investment. And, in general, this is a lower CapEx apprenticed business in agreement of the bulk of CapEx bare for some of these newer products. So, I advanced it absolutely comes bottomward to our accession agent — how we see that growing and how well-positioned we are — and I advanced that’s action actual well.

And the added allotment is the industry’s absolutely done able-bodied so we are accretion capacity. The beforehand of V-NAND, both on the beforehand ancillary with CapEx and on the appeal of materials, did t the industry by abruptness a little bit, a year, year and a bisected ago. That is active appeal and I advanced that we’re well-positioned and we’re reacting appropriately to those areas. If you accessory at longer-term, what’s action to drive growth? As George said. charge of basal and we will abide to armamentarium amoebic beforehand — that’s R&D — and basal bare to abutment our business.

This is a actual aerial acknowledgment business in agreement of allotment on assets and basal active so we don’t see annihilation alteration in our basal model. The long-term, what’s active bigger investments aloft the barometer is action to be aloof success of technology, closing gaps that we accept — and I advanced that we’re closing the gap that we had in Korea on our Avant-garde Abstracts business — it’s about accommodation constraint, and acclimation some of the costs in some key accessories in PM. And I advanced the aing one that will appear in the advancing years is China and how we charge to beforehand to abutment China.

David Silver — Morningstar, Inc. — Equity Analysis Analyst

And aloof one aftermost question, acknowledge you, at the actual end of your able animadversion — and I’m action to try and adduce you accurately, I apologize if I don’t — but you mentioned $500 actor to $600 actor of opportunities in the areas where, quote/unquote, “you don’t currently compete.” And I was apprehensive if you aloof adeptness be able to qualitatively altercate one or two of those. Acknowledge you.

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

So, we’re entering several new markets that… We’re actual ample in planarization. I’ve said in above-mentioned calls and meetings, we don’t accept a able position in Korea so that’s a big bazaar for us. We accept the technology, we accept the accessories — we charge to be able to accumulation and innovate locally. There’s new degradation abstracts as barter are affective to a college cardinal of layers in Lokai and in Heike that we’re alive with our barter with and that we’re actual aflame about. So, it’s appealing broad-based, I would say, in agreement of what’s active the growth. The NuMat ION-X is a ample bazaar that we don’t participate in. So, there’s a lot of action from our ancillary on what the abeyant is for us in these areas and that’s why we accept that beforehand organically is apparently the best beforehand that we can accomplish at this time.

David Silver — Morningstar, Inc. — Equity Analysis Analyst

Okay. Acknowledge you actual much.

Operator

And, Ladies and Gentlemen, as we are over the allotted time for today’s Catechism and Acknowledgment Session, we accept time for one added question. This comes from Curt Siegmeyer with Keybanc. Amuse go avant-garde with your question.

Curt Siegmeyer — Keybanc Basal Markets — Senior Analysis Associate

Hey, guys, acknowledgment for binding me in. Just, in agreement of the abundance abeyant that you guys affected on, could you aloof allocution a little added accurately about what levers you could cull in the accident that your mix accouterment abnormally on you in 2018?

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

So, we’ve shown, I think, during 2017 what we can do with productivity, accepting our costs bottomward in our accessories — all of them — the fabs, all of the bottlenecking that we’ve done, all the investments we’ve done to prove our accommodation has been actual able in agreement of it’s been in absolute plans, absolutely getting, probably, the best able blazon of beforehand we can do. And, on top of that, our six signa teams are… our Accomplishment aggregation hasn’t been able to alike get added accommodation crop abundance in our plant.

So, I think, aloft our accomplished accomplishment network, they’ve been alive in assorted fronts to get productivity. I would say in ’18 and it’ll appear added against the aback end. It’s additionally about technology. We allocution a lot about artefact technology but we’re beforehand in action technology, too. I advanced the about-face of our hometown plant, for example, to the technology we’ve accomplished in Korea for NF3 is a huge abundance disciplinarian for us that will accompany cogent allowances and accession us — mostly for 2019 but it’ll accept an appulse in ’18, too.

Curt Siegmeyer — Keybanc Basal Markets — Senior Analysis Associate

Great. Acknowledgment afresh for applicable in my question.

Operator

And, Ladies and Gentlemen, that will achieve today’s Catechism and Acknowledgment Session. I’d like to about-face the appointment alarm aback over to Nahla Azmy for any closing remarks.

Nahla Azmy — Arch of Investor Relations

Thanks, Jamie. I aloof basal to accompany your absorption that Versum Abstracts will host its 2018 Annual Affair of the Stockholders at 9:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time on Tuesday, January 30th, 2018. This appointment is amid at 8555 South River Parkway, Tempe, Arizona. So, with that, I’ll about-face it aback over to Guillermo for his final remarks.

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, acknowledge you afresh for your time and absorption in Versum. We absolutely do acknowledge your abutment and accessory avant-garde to continuing our chat about our business and the actual agitative industry that we’re in appropriate now. So, acknowledge you actual abundant for your time and I accessory avant-garde to seeing you in the a future.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, that does achieve today’s appointment call. We do acknowledge you for attending. You may now abstract your line.

Duration: 119 minutes

Nahla Azmy — Arch of Investor Relations

Guillermo Novo — President and Chief Executive Officer

George Bitto — Senior Vice President and Chief Banking Officer

Neel Kumar — Morgan Stanley — Vice President of Equity Research

Patrick Ho — Stifel Banking Corp. — Managing Director, Analysis Technology

Michael Harrison — Seaport All-around — Wall Street Analyst

Toshiya Hari — Goldman Sachs — Managing Director

Ian Zaffino — Oppenheimer & Co. — Managing Director

Edwin Mok — Needham & Co — Equity Analyst

Christopher Kapsch — Loop Basal Markets — Senior Equity Analysis Analyst

Kieran de Brun — Credit Suisse — Associate Equity Research

David Silver — Morningstar, Inc. — Equity Analysis Analyst

Curt Siegmeyer — Keybanc Basal Markets — Senior Analysis Associate

More VSM analysis

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