May 26, 2009 / 8:28 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-Cree raises 4th-qtr view, shares up 9 pct

* Cree raises 4th-qtr revenue, EPS targets

* Cites strong bookings for lighting, laptop LED products

* Stock up 9.3 percent in extended trade

LOS ANGELES, May 26 (Reuters) - LED lighting maker Cree Inc (CREE.O) raised its fourth-quarter earnings and revenue targets on Tuesday, citing stronger orders for both lighting and laptop LED products and sending its shares up 9 percent.

“We are pleased with the strong booking trends for Q4,” Cree Chief Executive Chuck Swoboda said in a statement. “We also remain optimistic about the growth potential for LED lighting in fiscal 2010, although there is some near-term execution risk as we ramp up production to meet these higher targets.”

LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are typically more expensive than conventional lights but consume far less energy and can last for two decades or more.

Cree has seen demand from automobile, cell phone and other consumer industries sink with the weak economy. On Tuesday, however, it said it was seeing stronger bookings for both LED lighting components and LED chips for laptop backlighting.

Cree expects revenue of $143 million to $150 million for the current quarter, up from a previous view of $137 million to $143 million it gave last month.

Earnings including one-time items are expected to be 7 cents to 9 cents a share, Cree said, more than the 5 cents to 7 cents a share the company had previously expected.

Excluding items, the Durham, North Carolina company expects to earn 15 cents to 17 cents a share. It had previously forecast a profit of 13 cents to 15 cents a share, excluding items.

Cree said gross margins for the quarter would be at the high end of targeted levels, and the company forecast about $46 million in operating expenses for the quarter.

Last month, the company said it expected gross margins, excluding items, of 36 percent to 38 percent for the fourth quarter.

Cree shares soared 9.3 percent to $30.34 in after-hours trade following the announcement. The stock had closed at $27.77 on Nasdaq after rising $1.19, or 4.5 percent, on the day.

Cree shares have gained 75 percent so far this year.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Richard Chang and Gunna Dickson

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