UPDATE 3-Cree quarterly profit tops estimates, shares rise

Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:21pm EST

Related Topics

* Q2 non-GAAP EPS 38 cents vs analyst view 30 cents

* Q2 revenue at $199.5 mln vs estimate $187.5 mln

* Shares up 10 pct in after-hours trading

By Laura Isensee and Poornima Gupta

(Recasts, adds CEO comments, forecast, updates share price, background and byline)

LOS ANGELES/SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Cree Inc (CREE.O), which makes light emitting diode (LED) fixtures, said on Tuesday that second-quarter profit more than tripled and topped Wall Street estimates, sending the company's shares up 10 percent in extended trade.

Cree said it expected revenue to continue to increase in the fiscal third quarter and was seeing a strong backlog of orders as LED lighting adoption continues to gain momentum.

The company is already beginning to build a backlog for the fourth quarter, Chief Executive Chuck Swoboda said on a conference call.

LEDs, which consume less energy and last longer than incandescent and fluorescent lights, are seeing more demand in products like televisions as well as lighting fixtures as costs for power generation and concerns about greenhouse gas emissions rise.

"Our backlog for Q3 is higher than at this point last quarter, due to increased demand for our LED components, lighting products," he said.

In the near-term, Swoboda said Cree will focus on increasing its manufacturing capacity.

As part of that expansion, Cree has bought a facility in Huizhou, China, that it expects to be operational in first half of fiscal 2011.

Cree's shares were up 10 percent at $59.66 each in after hours trading after closing at $54.21 in regular trading on Tuesday on the Nasdaq. That's only a few cents shy of the stock's 12-month high of $60 that it hit on Jan. 11.

In 2009, Cree saw its shares rise by more than 250 percent compared with a 34 percent rise in the Standard & Poor's MidCap 400 Index .MID of which it is a component.

Cree reported its quarterly net income was $33.8 million, or 32 cents earning per share, compared with $10.7 million, or 12 cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 38 cents a share, beating the 30 cents a share that analysts were expecting, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company said a faster-than-expected ramp up at its factory improved production volumes and aided profit margins.

During the quarter, Wal-Mart (WMT.N) chose Cree for an initial deployment of its LED light bulbs in about 650 of the giant retailer's stores.

Durham, North Carolina-based Cree said it expects revenue to continue to grow during its fiscal third quarter to between $215 million and $225 million, and forecast a net income in range of $37 million to $40 million, or 35 cents to 37 cents per diluted share.

Excluding one-time expenses, it expects earnings per share during the third quarter in the range of 41 cents to 44 cents.

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

(Reporting by Laura Isensee and Poornima Gupta. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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