Thu, Aug. 6, 7:05 PM
- On top of missing Q3 revenue estimates (while beating on EPS), Rubicon (NASDAQ:RBCN) forecasts Q3 revenue will be "at or below" a Q2 level of $7.1M. Consensus is at $9.2M.
- Along with its results/guidance, Rubicon has announced a "resource sharing agreement" for the company's Penang, Malaysia sapphire substrate plant. Rubicon will get access to an unnamed manufacturer's low-cost 4" polishing process, and in return give the manufacturer access to "a portion of its underutilized slicing and polishing capacity."
- The Q2 sales miss is partly blamed on high TV inventories and LED lighting seasonality, along with the related impact on pricing. Patterned sapphire substrate (PSS) sales were a strong point, nearly doubling Q/Q to $900K. PSS sales are expected to rise further in Q3, and a $9M, 12-month, PSS order will begin to be fulfilled in October, but 2" and 4" core wafer visibility is said to be limited.
- Due to weak demand, Rubicon is "temporarily scaling back some of its raw material and crystal growth operations." Rubicon ended Q2 with $36M in cash/short-term investments, down from $41M at the end of Q1.
- Shares have dropped to $1.64 in AH trading, making new 52-week lows in the process.
- Q2 results, PR
Thu, Aug. 6, 4:07 PM
Mon, Jul. 20, 5:39 PM
Mon, Jun. 29, 3:38 PM
- A long list of tech companies are posting big declines as the Nasdaq drops 2.2% amid a market rout triggered by expectations of a pending Greek default.
- 6%+ decliners include program guide/content protection IP firm Rovi (ROVI -9.5%), ultracapacitor maker Maxwell (MXWL -8.2%), wireless charging tech developer Energous (WATT -9%), cybersecurity hardware/software provider KEYW Holding (KEYW -8.5%), LED sapphire wafer maker Rubicon (RBCN -10.8%), IP licensing firm WiLAN (WILN -7.1%), security software provider Wave Systems (WAVX -11.6%), online video hosting platform Brightcove (BCOV -7%).
- In a repeat of Friday's trading, many Chinese tech names are also off sharply. The group includes mobile app developer Cheetah Mobile (CMCM -9.7%), e-commerce services firm Baozun (BZUN -8%), online travel agency eLong (LONG -15.3%), and online retailer LightInTheBox (LITB -7.8%).
- See also: LinkedIn, Yandex/Qiwi, solar stocks, Xoom, AppliedMicro
Fri, Jun. 12, 5:37 PM
Fri, May 8, 2:09 PM
- While Rubicon (NASDAQ:RBCN) beat Q1 estimates, it forecasts Q2 revenue and EPS will be similar to Q1 levels of $8.9M and -$0.32; that suggests they'll be below a consensus of $9.7M and -$0.32.
- Echoing what has been a common refrain in recent quarters, the LED sapphire wafer/materials provider states Q2 results will be hurt by price pressure, particularly for 2" materials; higher volumes and cost cuts will offset.
- It's more optimistic about 2H15: "[W]e have visibility into growing [patterened sapphire substrate] volumes in the second half of the year. With increased wafer revenue in combination with reducing product costs, we expect a meaningful improvement in operating results by the end of the year."
- Financials: Gross margin (-57.4%) was once more negative in Q1. A $600K Y/Y drop in GAAP operating expenses to $2.8M kept a lid on losses - $2.1M of the spending was on G&A. Rubicon ended Q1 with $41M in cash/short-term investments, and no debt; its market cap is currently $94M.
- Q1 results, PR
Thu, May 7, 4:08 PM
Wed, Apr. 15, 3:19 PM
- With the Nasdaq up 0.8% in the wake of a well-received Intel Q1 report, major tech gainers are easily outpacing decliners.
- Notable gainers include 4G router/M2M module maker Sierra Wireless (SWIR +3.6%), security tech plays KEYW Holding (KEYW +6.9%) and Vasco (VDSI +5%), Chinese mobile game publisher iDreamSky (DSKY +11.1%), sapphire wafer/substrate provider Rubicon (RBCN +9.1%), and telecom equipment vendors Ubiquiti (UBNT +4%). Sonus (SONS +3.6%), and Adtran (ADTN +4.1%).
- Sierra, Ubiquiti, Sonus, and Adtran could be benefiting from hopes the Nokia/Alcatel-Lucent merger will spark fresh telecom equipment M&A. Rubicon's gains come a day after shares closed just $0.15 above a 52-week low of $3.56.
- Previously covered: 3D printing stocks, chip stocks, First Solar, Enphase, Mobileye, Yandex, Universal Display, Geospace, Mellanox/QLogic, Angie's List
Fri, Mar. 27, 5:49 PM
- Taiwanese patterned sapphire substrate (PSS) maker Rigidtech Microelectronics is seeing strong demand in March and expects the momentum to continue in April, with 4" substrate demand particularly strong, president Hung Wen-ching tells Digitimes.
- In addition, the site reports fellow PSS maker "has been running at nearly full capacity during the first quarter of 2015 and is aiming to strengthen its presence in China," and that peer Pheceda Technology is "preparing to expand production in China due to an expected surge in orders."
- Taiwanese and Chinese PSS makers in general are said to be "shifting mainstream production from 2-inch PSS to 4-inch models and have focused capacity expansion on 4-inch." This has reportedly led Taiwanese LED wafer/chip makers to ask for lower quotes on 4" PSS' following an increase in supply.
- The report could bode well for U.S. sapphire substrate/ingot maker Rubicon (NASDAQ:RBCN), which reported a 23% Y/Y sales drop and a $5.5M gross loss in Q4 amid ongoing industry oversupply and pricing issues. Rubicon's Q4-ending cash balance of $45M is equal to over 40% of its current $105.6M market cap.
Thu, Feb. 12, 4:06 PM
Thu, Feb. 12, 2:45 PM
- Machine vision hardware provider Cognex (CGNX +4%), sapphire wafer vendor Rubicon (RBCN +5.4%), and stock photo marketplace Shutterstock (SSTK +6.1%) have each rallied ahead of their calendar Q4 report, which are due after the close.
- Cognex and Shutterstock have each seen volume well above their 3-month daily averages. Rubicon's volume is close to a 3-month of 366K.
Wed, Feb. 11, 5:35 PM
Sat, Feb. 7, 3:09 PM
- "We have developed a new product that will provide sapphire-like scratch resistance while maintaining the legendary toughness and break resistance of Gorilla Glass," Corning (NYSE:GLW) exec James Clappin stated at yesterday's investor meeting. Corning plans to start selling the composite, known for now as Project Phire, later this year.
- Though Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stuck with Gorilla Glass for the iPhone 6 and would-be Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced (OTCPK:GTATQ) filed for bankruptcy - it's now trying to sell ~2K sapphire furnaces to pay off creditors, with stockholders getting anything left over - there's still strong industry interest in sapphire as a potential smartphone cover glass solution due to its scratch-resistance and thinness; Apple has said it will "continue evaluating" GT's sapphire progress.
- Meanwhile, Apple Watch and other smartwatches have adopted sapphire cover glass, and sapphire wafer/materials provider Rubicon (NASDAQ:RBCN) recently announced it's working on "scratch-resistant sapphire-coated faceplates for smartphones and larger devices," as part of a broader effort to expand into new markets. Concerns about the material's cost and brittleness remain.
- Also disclosed by Corning: 1) The Display Technologies (LCD glass) segment is expected to see 2015 earnings growth comparable with 2014 levels. 2) Corning's glass sales related to large-size LCD TVs rose over 50% in 2014 on a unit basis; it forecasts 30%+ growth in large-size LCD viewing area by 2016. 3) The Optical Communications (fiber) business is expected to see high-single digit 2015 growth, aided by strong sales to the last-mile fiber, data center, and distributed antenna markets. (investor day slides)
Mon, Feb. 2, 7:17 PM
- Hap Hewes, a senior Rubicon (NASDAQ:RBCN) exec from 2004-2009, has been re-hired as its SVP of Optical. He'll be in charge of "marketing and business development activity for sapphire products in the aerospace, optical, consumer electronics and industrial markets."
- Rubicon, hungry to lower its exposure to an LED sapphire wafer market plagued by intense price pressure, adds it's working on a several new products for the aforementioned markets. They include "very large, thick sapphire plates for aerospace and defense, scratch-resistant sapphire-coated faceplates for smartphones and larger devices, and a new sapphire growth process." The last product is said to "produce solid sapphire faceplates in the desired net shape, eliminating nearly all of the fabrication costs."
- While would-be Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced famously filed for bankruptcy after failing to meet tech milestones, mobile industry interest in sapphire cover glass - thinner and more scratch-resistant than Corning's (NYSE:GLW) Gorilla Glass, but also costlier and possibly more brittle - remains high.
- Rubicon's Q4 report arrives on Feb. 12.
Dec. 23, 2014, 2:15 PM
- Digitimes reports Xiaomi (now one of the world's 5 biggest smartphone OEMs) is likely to use sapphire cover glass to protect the Xiaomi 5, a 5.7" flagship phone to be unveiled at CES. The site observes "existing sapphire production capacity is not sufficient" to meet Xiaomi's needs, should it go ahead with its plans.
- Kyocera and Huawei have launched low-volume phones with sapphire cover glass, which is thinner, more scratch-resistant, much more costly, and potentially more brittle than Corning's mainstay Gorilla Glass. Apple, of course, opted not to use sapphire cover glass for the iPhone 6, and saw would-be sapphire supplier GT Advanced file for bankruptcy.
- The report could be giving a lift to Rubicon (NASDAQ:RBCN). Even if the company's sapphire materials aren't used to produce Xiaomi's cover glass, the company would benefit from improved industry demand/pricing, provided volumes are significant.
- Yesterday: China reportedly ending LED subsidies
Dec. 22, 2014, 3:51 PM
- Taiwanese LED industry sources tell Digitimes the Chinese government "has ordered its subordinate agencies and local governments to stop offering subsidies and tax incentives for China-based LED epitaxial wafer and chip makers because such offering has disrupted market mechanisms and may violate WTO rules."
- Cree (CREE +3%), which has lost mid-power LED chip share to low-cost Chinese manufacturers, could benefit from the ending of subsidies. As might Taiwan's SemiLEDs (LEDS +6.3%) and U.S. LED wafer supplier Rubicon (RBCN -3.5%).
- On the other hand, equipment suppliers Veeco (VECO +2%) and Aixtron (AIXG -1.2%) could see their Chinese orders slump. Aixtron soared in September after landing a major order from Chinese LED chipmaker San'an Optoelectronics. Digitimes notes San'an has received generous subsidies from the Xiamen city government, and has placed major orders with both Aixtron and Veeco.
RBCN vs. ETF Alternatives
Rubicon Technology Inc is an electronic materials provider that develops, manufactures and sells monocrystalline sapphire and othercrystalline products for LEDs, RFICs, blue laser diodes, optoelectronics and other optical applications.
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