Cree forecasts weak 1st-qtr as rising costs dent margins

Tue Aug 7, 2012 5:19pm EDT

* Sees first-quarter adj EPS $0.23-$0.28; est $0.28

* Sees first-quarter rev $305-$325 mln; est $329 mln

* Q4 adj EPS $0.25

* Q4 rev $306.8 mln, up 26 pct

Aug 7 (Reuters) - LED maker Cree Inc forecast weak results for the current quarter after its fourth-quarter profit almost halved on rising costs.

Cree now expects to earn 23 to 28 cents per share on an adjusted basis in the first quarter on revenue of $305 million to $325 million.

Analysts were expecting the company to earn 28 cents a share on revenue of $329 million on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income for the fourth quarter almost halved to $10.0 million, or 9 cents per share, from $19.8 million, or 18 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, it earned 25 cents per share, ahead of analysts' expectations of 23 cents per share.

Revenue rose 26 percent to $306.8 million, in line with a analysts' average estimate of $306.3 million.

Gross margin, excluding items, fell to 36.3 percent in the fourth quarter from 38.8 percent in the year-ago period.

Cree shares rose about 2 percent in trading after the bell. They had closed at $26.34 on Tuesday on the Nasdaq.

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