Cree beats Street view on LED lighting growth

Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:50pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Light emitting diodes (LED) products maker Cree Inc (CREE.O) reported third-quarter results above market estimates, helped by growth in its LED lighting segment, and forecast stronger-than-expected revenue for the fourth quarter.

"Growth in LED lighting partially offset lower demand for auto, mobile and consumer applications in Q3, and we target total LED revenue to rebound in Q4 driven by increased demand for commercial lighting and video screens," Chief Executive Chuck Swoboda said in a statement.

LED fixtures, which consume less energy and last longer than incandescent and fluorescent lights, are seen as promising next-generation lights as costs for power generation and concerns about greenhouse gas emissions rise.

CEO Swoboda said Cree is targeting continued growth in its LED lighting and LED component product lines for fiscal 2010, and added that the company is planning to continue investing in research and development and capacity to enable the growth.

For the fourth quarter, Cree is targeting an increase in R&D expense of about 10 percent as it ramps up spending on LED components and LED lighting, Swoboda said on a conference call with analysts.

Cree's competitors include Japan's Toyoda Gosei Co Ltd (7282.T) and privately held Nichia Corp, as well as, Siemens (SIEGn.DE) unit Osram.

For the third quarter ended March 29, Cree reported earnings of $4.0 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with $5.7 million, or 6 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Cree shares were trading up more than 1 percent at $26.39 after the bell. They closed at $26.06 Tuesday on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore; Editing by Deepak Kannan, Himani Sarkar)

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