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.
Dec. 15, 2014, 4:48 PM
Nov. 28, 2014, 3:43 PM
- Taiwanese supply chain firms talking to Digitimes expect the total value of LED lighting output to rise 30% next year, with a doubling of shipments more than offsetting 30%-35% price drops. Research firm LEDinside expects shipment value to grow to $25.7B, or 31.3% of total lighting shipment value.
- On the other hand, the LED backlighting market is expected to continue declining, as prices continue falling and newer LED TVs require fewer chips.
- Though its LED chip/component business has been hit hard by a demand shift towards mid-power LED sales (often used for indoor lighting), CREE's LED lighting product sales are still growing briskly: They rose 51% Y/Y in calendar Q3 to $223.1M. Component/chip sales were down 20% to $173.6M.
- Wafer vendor Rubicon (NASDAQ:RBCN) expects a weak backlighting market to exact a heavy toll on its Q4 results. Demand is expected to pick up in Q1.
- Other industry names: AIXG, VECO, LEDS
Nov. 7, 2014, 4:57 PM
- Initially lower after posting mixed Q3 results and once more providing a downbeat outlook, Rubicon (NASDAQ:RBCN) finished the day up 9.6%.
- The sapphire wafer vendor notes industry oversupply led pricing for 2" core wafers to fall 30% Q/Q in Q3. It's seeing "increasing interest in two-inch material" in Q4, but also declares 4" demand to be "very weak" due to above-normal LED backlighting market seasonality.
- Q4 revenue is expected to be "similar" to a Q3 level of $8M; that puts it below an $11.5M consensus. EPS is expected to be in a range of -$0.38 to -$0.42, below a -$0.35 consensus. Rubicon expects revenue to rise in Q1 2015, aided by improving 4" wafer demand.
- A $9.5M gross loss was seen in Q3 on $8M in revenue. GAAP opex rose 34% Y/Y to $4.4M.
- Rubicon ended Q3 with $53M in cash/investments (compares with a $115M market cap), and no debt.
- Q3 results, PR
Nov. 6, 2014, 4:08 PM
Oct. 22, 2014, 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.
Oct. 10, 2014, 12:45 PM
Oct. 7, 2014, 5:40 PM
Oct. 7, 2014, 12:45 PM
Oct. 7, 2014, 10:31 AM
- With GT Advanced having filed for bankruptcy, speculation that Rubicon's (NASDAQ:RBCN) sapphire materials could be used to pick up the slack has grown
- Though best known for its wafers, a page on Rubicon's site notes the company also provides 2" sapphire ingots for camera lens cover and biometric applications, as well as "rectangular blocks ready to be sliced into smartphone faceplates and custom shapes such as smart-watch face plates." (h/t Notable Calls)
- Also: If GT Advanced's sapphire capacity was removed from the market (remains to be seen), Rubicon could benefit from the diminished industry supply even in the absence of an Apple deal.
- Apple is using sapphire cover glass for two of its three smartwatch models, but opted against using it on the iPhone 6, reportedly due to technical shortcomings.
- Rubicon has recovered most of the Monday losses it saw in response to GT's filing. Shares dove to a new 52-week low of $3.56 yesterday before bouncing.
Oct. 6, 2014, 12:46 PM
Oct. 6, 2014, 10:41 AM
Aug. 8, 2014, 12:47 PM
Aug. 7, 2014, 5:36 PM
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
Aug. 7, 2014, 4:29 PM
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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