Wed, Oct. 22, 2:50 PM
- Canaccord and D.A. Davidson have downgraded Cree (CREE -16.7%) to neutral ratings after the company offered a weaker-than-expected FQ2 outlook and reported a 580 bps Q/Q gross margin drop.
- Canaccord's Jonathan Dorsheimer, who wasn't quite enthusiastic about reiterating a Buy following Cree's Oct. 2 FQ1 warning: "In spite of the fact that we may be...marking the bottom for CREE shares, we simply fail to see a potentially positive catalyst ... Our thesis was based around the transition from captive to merchant sales in Cree’s components [business], which at best has been pushed by 6-9 months now."
- He adds Canaccord's research confirms Cree has lost LED component share to Philips' Lumileds unit, and that a shift towards mid-power LED sales in China is also taking a toll.
- Cowen's Jeffrey Osborne (Market Perform) thinks margins will stabilize as Cree cuts factory output, continues seeing healthy lighting and power/RF growth, and gets a lighting margin boost from a mix shift to non-bulb lighting products. He's still cautious on account of Cree's near-term LED component challenges, but expects the company's technology strengths will help its cause long-term.
- Fellow LED industry names Rubicon (RBCN -2.3%), Veeco (VECO -3.7%), and Aixtron (AIXG -2.5%) are also lower.
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Fri, Sep. 26, 12:41 PM| Comment!
Thu, Sep. 25, 12:45 PM
Thu, Sep. 25, 10:19 AM
- Chinese LED chip manufacturer San'an Optoelectronics has ordered 50 of Aixtron's (NASDAQ:AIXG) next-gen Showerhead MOCVD systems. Aixtron calls the order "one of the largest" it has ever received.
- Though LED sales to end-users have been steadily growing, LED equipment sales have remained weak thanks to industry overcapacity. Craig-Hallum views Aixtron's order as a sign the industry is now expanding, and recommends buying Aixtron rival Veeco (VECO -0.6%).
Thu, Sep. 25, 9:17 AM
Thu, Sep. 11, 9:14 AM
Mon, May. 5, 4:24 PM
- Though it beat Q1 estimates, Veeco (VECO) expects Q2 revenue of $87M-$97M and EPS of -$0.23 to -$0.14, largely below a consensus of $96.8M and -$0.11.
- Q1 orders totaled $103M, up 21% Q/Q and 47% Y/Y, and above revenue of $90.8M. MOCVD equipment orders rose 59% Q/Q to $83M thanks to rising demand from LED manufacturers in Asia and elsewhere. Data Storage orders fell to $15 from $22M in Q4, and MBE orders fell to $5M from $11M.
- Veeco asserts LED fab utilization rates "have improved to high levels at most key accounts and LED adoption is happening faster than many had expected." But it also cautions MOCVD orders could be "lumpy and unpredictable on a quarterly basis," and that the company lacks 2H visibility. Q2 orders are expected to be at or above Q1 levels.
- Rival Aixtron (AIXG), which moved higher last week following its Q1 report, might follow Veeco lower.
- Q1 results, PR
Tue, Apr. 29, 2:43 PM
- Though Aixtron (AIXG +2.3%) missed Q1 estimates, it reiterated guidance for 2014 revenue to be flat Y/Y. Earnings are expected to improve from 2013 levels, but an EBIT loss is still forecast.
- In addition, the LED equipment maker's orders 2% Q/Q and 26% Y/Y in Q1 to €37.7M. Quarter-ending backlog was €64.2M, -18% Y/Y but +8% Q/Q.
- Gross margin was 25% - down from seasonally strong Q4's 34%, but much better than the year-ago period's -119% (no typo).
- The company notes capacity utilization among LED customers "remains at relatively high levels" amid growing demand, and thinks "sentiment among customers is improving as the growth in the LED market drives the customers' profitability." At the same time, it observes "there was still no noticeable increase in investments in LED manufacturing capacity expansions" in Q1.
- Rival Veeco (VECO +2.5%) and LED wafer vendor Rubicon (RBCN +1.2%) are higher on a good day for tech. Rubicon reports on Thursday, and Veeco on May 5.
- Q1 results, PR
Fri, Mar. 28, 2:40 PM
- Checks suggest Rubicon's (RBCN +2.3%) Chinese sales are up 30% in Q1, writes UBS' Stephen Chin, while upping his PT to $12 from $9.50.
- Chin also estimates Rubicon's ASP for 2" sapphire wafers is up 9% Q/Q, and says UBS' China LED tracker "continues to show that fab utilization rates in China are tracking in low 90s and Chinese LED fabs are likely placing rush MOCVD equipment orders."
- At the same time, he cautions sapphire "is still in 10-15% oversupply," and estimates Rubicon's Malaysian sapphire wafer-polishing factory has a 10%-20% utilization rate due to weak demand for larger wafers. Chin, who maintains a Neutral, thinks Rubicon won't reach operating breakeven until 2015.
- Chin's remarks about MOCVD equipment orders bode well for Veeco (VECO +5.9%) and Aixtron (AIXG +2.7%). The former was upgraded by CLSA this morning, and by UBS 18 days ago.
- Also: AppleInsider is reporting Apple and GT Advanced are looking to expand their new Arizona sapphire production facility. Rubicon shares jumped after Apple's deal with GT was announced last fall, as investors bet the deal would lead to a more favorable sapphire supply/demand balance.
Tue, Mar. 11, 9:46 AM
- Vipshop (VIPS -4.1%) has been cut to Neutral by Goldman. Shares blasted off last week in response to the company's Q4 beat and strong guidance.
- Unisys (UIS -6.5%) has been cut to Market Perform by Raymond James.
- Aixtron (AIXG -1.6%) has been cut to Neutral by BNP Paribas.
- As part of a chip sector coverage launch, AppliedMicro (AMCC +1%), TowerJazz (TSEM +1.5%), Neonode (NEON +1.6%), RF Micro (RFMD +1.8%), and TriQuint (TQNT +1.6%) have been started at Buy by Ascendiant Capital.
Wed, Jan. 22, 2:35 PM
- Though its FQ3 guidance is only in-line, investors are giving a resounding thumbs-up to Cree's (CREE +7.7%) FQ2 report, given it featured solid revenue and earnings beats on the back of strong LED lighting growth, and signs the margin pressure lately faced by the company could be softening.
- LED wafer supplier Rubicon (RBCN +5%) is also up sharply, as are equipment vendors Veeco (VECO +6.5%) and Aixtron (AIXG +4.6%).
- Cree's lighting product sales rose 42% Y/Y in FQ2 (a pickup from FQ1's 37% growth), and now make up 42% of the company's revenue (up from 38% in FQ2). Just as importantly, Cree's lighting gross margin, hurt lately by aggressive pricing for consumer LED bulbs at Home Depot and elsewhere, rose 100 bps Q/Q to 27.9% (albeit while falling 580 bps Y/Y).
- LED product sales (components) rose 7% Y/Y after growing 16% in FQ1, and now make up 52% of revenue (down from 56%). Gross margin was 45.4%, -120 bps Q/Q but +350 bps Y/Y. Power/RF product sales rose 17% Y/Y, and carried a 58% gross margin (+430 bps Q/Q and +140 bps Y/Y).
- Goldman (Buy) thinks Cree's numbers demonstrate LED lighting adoption is "in the early innings," and believes its guidance "implies a return to 30%+ gross margin in lighting after several disappointing quarters." The firm is also pleased sell-through at Home Depot doubled Q/Q, and considers Cree well-positioned for "a potentially break-out June."
- Needham (Hold) is more cautious. It's worried a mix shift towards bulbs will keep margins pressured, notes capacity constraints are limiting sales of high-margin LED components, and considers Cree "fairly valued" at 29x 2015E EPS.
- CC transcript
Nov. 8, 2013, 11:33 AM
- Though Veeco (VECO -3.1%) beat Q3 revenue estimates (while missing EPS forecasts), its bookings for the quarter only totaled $92M. While that figure is up from depressed Q2 and year-ago levels of $85M and $84M, it fell short of Q3 revenue of $99.3M, and yielded a book-to-bill of just 0.93, below a 1H level of 0.97.
- Orders for Veeco's MOCVD systems (used in LED/solar manufacturing) rose 28% Q/Q to $67M. However, orders for MBE and hard drive equipment respectively fell to just $7M and $18M. In spite of the Q/Q order pickup, Veeco says it hasn't yet seen an MOCVD demand recovery.
- Gross margin was 30.5%, down from 37.5% a year ago. While revenue fell 25% Y/Y, opex declined 5%.
- Rival Aixtron (AIXG -2.4%) is also selling off.
- Previous: Veeco files delayed reports, shares jump
Oct. 21, 2013, 10:04 AM
- SolarCity (SCTY +7.3%) has been started at Buy by BofA/Merrill.
- Salesforce (CRM +2.1%) has been upgraded to Strong Buy by Raymond James.
- Activision (ATVI +1%) has been started at Overweight by Barclays.
- MA-Com (MTSI +2.7%) has been upgraded to Overweight by Stephens.
- Russian carriers VimpelCom (VIP -0.5%) and MTS (MBT -1.8%) have been cut to Hold by Deutsche, and so has Aixtron (AIXG +3.2%)
- NII Holdings (NIHD -4.3%) has been cut to Underperform by Credit Suisse.
- Celestica (CLS -1.4%) has been cut to Hold by Canaccord.
- Aruba (ARUN +1.7%) has been started at Outperform by Northland.
- Applied Optoelectronics (AAOI +10.9%) has been started at Strong Buy by Raymond James.
- Xoom (XOOM +6.9%) has been started at Buy by SunTrust.
- Montage (MONT -0.4%) has been assigned five bullish ratings, and no neutral/bearish ones, on underwriter coverage day.
Oct. 15, 2013, 2:09 PM
- Oppenheimer's Andrew Uerkwitz, who downgraded Veeco (VECO -5.3%) to Perform this morning, says he's concerned about the "potential fallout" from Veeco's accounting review, which has been ongoing for nearly a year.
- Moreover, after updating his financial statements, Uerkwitz thinks the "earnings correction" that will be provided by Veeco when it finally reports will be worse than previously thought.
- LED equipment peer Aixtron (AIXG -1.3%) is off moderately. Canaccord cut Aixtron to Sell at the beginning of the month, citing Asian share losses.
Oct. 1, 2013, 11:14 AM
- In tandem with upgrading top LED lighting/component supplier Cree, Canaccord's Jonathan Dorsheimer has downgraded equipment vendor Aixtron (AIXG -4.4%) to Sell. Meanwhile, Oppenheimer has cut LED sapphire wafer supplier Rubicon (RBCN -3.5%) to Underperform.
- Dorsheimer says Asian supply chain meetings give him "increased confidence that [Aixtron] has lost significant share and that the next MOCVD cycle will likely disappoint."
- It's possible some of the share lost by Aixtron has been picked up by rival Veeco (VECO +2.4%). However, both Aixtron and Veeco have been contending with tough price competition from Chinese vendors.
- Oppenheimer bases its Rubicon downgrade on a belief the LED sapphire market will remain in a state of oversupply (previous), and that non-LED applications won't be able to pick up the slack. The firm also views recent wafer price hikes as unsustainable.
AIXG vs. ETF Alternatives
Aixtron SE is a provider of deposition equipment to the semiconductor industry. The Company's technology solutions are used by customers to build advanced components for electronic and optoelectronic applications.
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