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Rubicon Technology, Inc. (RBCN)

  • Oct. 6, 2014, 12:46 PM
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  • Oct. 6, 2014, 10:41 AM
    • GT Advanced accounted for 3% of the Guggenheim solar ETF (TAN -3.4%). Hence the ETF's sharp decline following news GT is filing for Chap. 11.
    • Sapphire wafer supplier Rubicon (RBCN -4.2%) also isn't taking the news well.
  • Aug. 8, 2014, 12:47 PM
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  • Aug. 7, 2014, 5:36 PM
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  • Aug. 7, 2014, 5:19 PM
    • Though Rubicon (NASDAQ:RBCN) beat Q2 estimates, it's guiding for Q3 revenue of $8M-$12M and EPS of -$0.39 to -$0.44, far below a consensus of $16.3M and -$0.27.
    • The company says it's seeing "very little demand" in Q3 for 2" core sapphire wafers due to excess inventory among polishing clients. It also thinks "recent capacity additions in the sapphire market" related to mobile devices are "temporarily impacting" 2" demand. That's almost certainly a reference to GT Advanced (NASDAQ:GTAT) and its huge sapphire production efforts for Apple.
    • 2" demand is expected to improve in Q4. Rubicon also says it's upbeat about initial qualification of its PSS wafers at 3 new clients.
    • Q2 gross margin was -50.2% (a $7.3M gross loss on revenue of $14.5M). Rubicon notes 4" core wafer pricing rose 10% Q/Q amid strong LED market demand, but added "idle plant and development costs at our wafering facility continued to be a drag on earnings."
    • Q2 results, PR
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  • Aug. 7, 2014, 4:29 PM
    • Rubicon (NASDAQ:RBCN): Q2 EPS of -$0.39 beats by $0.03.
    • Revenue of $14.5M (+37.3% Y/Y) beats by $0.1M.
    • Press Release
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  • Jul. 7, 2014, 12:50 PM
    • "We believe GT can still hit the midpoint of its sales guidance of $600-$800M but believe our checks of a slower ramp in 2Q14 makes the high end more challenging," writes UBS' Stephen Chin while downgrading GT Advanced (GTAT -13%) to Neutral.
    • Chin is worried about the pace at which Apple-related sapphire output is growing, and has respectively cut his 2014 revenue and EPS forecasts by $100M and $0.05 to $700M and $0.12. Consensus is at $696.5M (+133% Y/Y) and $0.08.
    • Canaccord's Jonathan Dosheimer, who this morning cut GT to Hold, expresses skepticism the iPhone 6 will use sapphire cover glass in large volumes, and considers 2016 EPS upside unlikely unless sapphire cover glass is used across Apple's iPhone/iWatch lineups.
    • Dorsheimer's remarks follows a June report claiming only the 5.5" iPhone 6 will feature sapphire cover glass - the 4.7" model will use Gorilla Glass - and that the 5.5" model will be in short supply through year's end due to sapphire yield issues.
    • Sapphire wafer vendor Rubicon (RBCN -5.9%) is following GT lower on a weak day for tech. GT is still up 95% YTD.
  • May. 23, 2014, 1:45 PM
    • Korea's reports Samsung (SSNLF) and LG (LGEIY) are interested in adopting sapphire cover glass for their phones, and recently asked sapphire wafer/ingot makers to submit samples.
    • The site adds the companies were previously reluctant to adopt sapphire due to its steep cost, but have changed their minds following Apple's embrace of the technology.
    • Like much of the industry, Samsung/LG have been avid users of Corning's (GLW +0.5%) Gorilla Glass. Sapphire cover glass is thinner, stronger, and more scratch-resistant than Gorilla Glass, but also much more costly for now. Samsung took a 7.4% stake in Corning last year as part of a deal to sell its stake in the Samsung Corning JV.
    • GT Advanced (GTAT +8%), currently quite busy ramping sapphire production for Apple, has shot higher on the report. Though GT has said its Apple deal "will be subject to certain exclusivity terms during the duration of the agreement," there could still be a long-term opportunity to service other OEMs. Moreover, stronger industry demand stands to improve GT's pricing power.
    • SA author Matt Margolis notes the Apple exclusivity deal doesn't cover GT's sapphire laminate solutions (enabled by its Hyperion tech).
    • Sapphire wafer vendor Rubicon (RBCN +4.8%) is also up sharply, aided by an Oppenheimer upgrade.
  • May. 23, 2014, 9:21 AM
    • Citing valuation, Oppenheimer has upgraded Rubicon (RBCN) to Perform.
    • The beaten-down/heavily-shorted sapphire wafer maker closed yesterday not far from its 52-week low of $6.84, after getting crushed at the beginning of the month due to an EPS miss and poor guidance.
    • Dougherty started coverage on Rubicon with a Buy on May 13, while predicting a big top-line improvement.
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  • May. 13, 2014, 12:42 PM
    • Dougherty has started coverage on GT Advanced (GTAT +3.4%) and Rubicon (RBCN +3.1%) at Buy. The firm has set a $27 PT for the former, and an $11 PT for the latter.
    • Dougherty is upbeat about GT's Apple deal and new products, and expects long-struggling Rubicon to post strong top-line growth going forward on the back of healthy LED/smartphone sapphire demand.
    • GT sold off last week after missing Q1 revenue estimates and reiterating full-year guidance. Rubicon tumbled two weeks after posting mixed Q1 results and below-consensus Q2 guidance.
    • 29% and 30% of GT and Rubicon's floats were respectively shorted as of April 30.
  • May. 1, 2014, 5:44 PM
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  • May. 1, 2014, 4:51 PM
    • Due to weak margins caused by idle plant and development costs at its wafering facility, Rubicon (RBCN) expects Q2 EPS of -$0.38 to -$0.46, well below a -$0.20 consensus. Revenue is expected to be "similar" to a Q1 level of $14.3M; the consensus is at $15.2M.
    • Rubicon took a $1.1M sapphire wafer inventory charge in Q1, and says wafer costs were "higher than normal due to the large number of [patented sapphire substrate] samples produced and the cost of establishing a four-inch polishing line."
    • The company had a Q1 gross loss of $7.5M (up from $3.4M a year ago) on revenue of $14.3M. Opex rose 17% Y/Y to $3.4M (compares with 72% rev. growth).
    • Wafer costs are expected to come down in 2H14 as Rubicon shifts from development to production. Wafer revenue is expected to be "meaningfully higher" in Q2, but core revenue is expected to fall due to the exhaustion of sapphire boule inventory.
    • Shares also tumbled three months ago due to margin/pricing worries.
    • Q1 results, PR
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  • May. 1, 2014, 4:26 PM
    • Rubicon (RBCN): Q1 EPS of -$0.43 misses by $0.09.
    • Revenue of $14.3M (+72.1% Y/Y) beats by $1.35M.
    • Press Release
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  • Apr. 29, 2014, 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
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  • Apr. 1, 2014, 9:40 AM
    • Nvidia (NVDA +3.4%) has been upgraded to Outperform by JMP. The company made a flurry of product announcements last week.
    • InvenSense (INVN -2.2%) has been cut to Market Perform by Oppenheimer. A Galaxy S5 teardown recently turned up a 6-axis InvenSense motion sensor.
    • Rubicon (RBCN +10%) has been upgraded to Overweight by JPMorgan.
    • JA Solar (JASO +5.2%) has been started at Outperform by Northland.
    • Tablueau (DATA +1.4%) has been upgraded to Outperform by Baird.
    • Informatica (INFA +4.2%) has been upgraded to Overweight by Barclays.
    • MagnaChip (MX -2.5%) has been cut to Neutral by Chardan Capital following Friday's restatement/CFO news. UBS downgraded shares to Sell yesterday.
    • Extreme Networks (EXTR +6%) has been started at Buy by Wunderlich. The company recently launched several new software products, as well as 100-gig Ethernet blade for its switches.
    • (COUP -2.2%) has received a bullish rating from BofA/Merrill, and neutral ones from Goldman and RBC, on underwriter coverage day.
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  • Mar. 28, 2014, 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.
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Company Description
Rubicon Technology, Inc., is an electronic materials provider that develops, manufactures and sells monocrystalline sapphire and other innovative crystalline products for LEDs, RFICs, blue laser diodes, optoelectronics and other optical applications.