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billkennedy

billkennedy
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  • Cree (CREE +2.1%) is higher on a day when Siemens (SI) announced it plans to cut 4,700 jobs at its Osram lighting unit, which competes with Cree in LED lighting, ahead of a spinoff. Though many of the cuts involve factories making traditional lighting products, a Reuters column noted Osram could try to boost profitability by procuring LED chips from third-parties. If Osram went in that direction, Cree would be a potential supplier. LED equipment firms Veeco (VECO -3.7%) and GT Advanced (GTAT -2.6%) are off today. [View news story]
    ...all is shifting (re LEDs) to lumens/$...this means high margin suppliers like Cree are left isolated, left to Government subsidized business, and will not compete well in world market, while Asia is up, due to major production and volume applications such as everything from portable electronics to toys (including cell phones) to lighting.
    Cree's counter must be that they are a III-V Semiconductor Mfgr, not just an LED supplier.....meaning they will continue to push LEDs, and their "leadership". but will also (for the street) push MOSFETS, RF, etc. This becomes more and more the Cree model, as the "LED Light" business -from toys to various applications including SSL - become more and more cost-driven (lumens/$ not lumens/watt).
    Nov 30, 2012. 04:15 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on Cree: Wunderlich's Theodore O'Neill suggests the company is the First Solar (FSLR) of the LED world. He notes both Cree and First Solar rely on exotic materials few others in in their respective industries use, and argues each company's competitive edge is withering as the materials typically used by rivals - polysilicon for First Solar's competitors, sapphire for Cree's - get cheaper. Meanwhile, Digitimes reports LED prices have stabilized in Q2 thanks to strong demand. (also)  [View news story]
    FSLR was actually dead on arrival as far as I am concerned...bringing out via Govt sponsored R&D a Cadmium based solar cell (allowable with an EPA waver granted just for this tech/co = while we have Cadmium EPA alerts everywhere else). Further its business model, that it could be made less expensively that Mono or Poly silicon, even though it had an inferior conversion efficiency, could compete was also erroneous.

    It costs more in the long run as you need more of it (larger installation costs) than competing technologies, and you still have the cadmium left over to collect (within 15 yrs) and carefully dipose of (more energy waste and expense). Larger footprint, even in the desert upsets some as it harms more of the biosphere.

    Time has shown that even with its Govt subsidization this tech has poor competitive values (conversion efficiency, costs, footprint, disposal) as compared with silicon based systems (even with large tariffs) and especially CPVs as they come on-line (higher conversion efficiency, smaller footprint, etc).

    Cree is a completely different story, in a completely different market/arena. I am not saying that Cree does not have its own problems, but they are of a different sort, which is a whole other story.
    May 26, 2012. 02:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on Cree: Wunderlich's Theodore O'Neill suggests the company is the First Solar (FSLR) of the LED world. He notes both Cree and First Solar rely on exotic materials few others in in their respective industries use, and argues each company's competitive edge is withering as the materials typically used by rivals - polysilicon for First Solar's competitors, sapphire for Cree's - get cheaper. Meanwhile, Digitimes reports LED prices have stabilized in Q2 thanks to strong demand. (also)  [View news story]
    Cree comments are not correct. You talk about "brightness" which is at the package level, then support all of that at the epi and die level which is incorrect. Also, Cree makes "some" lower level output die with SiC. Its higher power devices are epitaxially grown on sapphire (AL2O3) and laser lift off/bonded to silicon for vertical integration. SiC based devices have never been the High Performance choice for AlInGaN...all of that PR re mismatch, heat, etc has been shown up long ago....and the micro-pipe issues continues. Cree has never had as good of epi as the Japanese as the Japanese have a completely different MOCVD equip and approach than western style reactor systems. Indeed Cree, with lower performance epi has had to use many techniques, including chip shaping, laser lift-off, etc to compete. I am not saying they do not make excellent products and they are indeed within the top 10, but they do not have the best die efficiencies/performance as compared to Al2O3 based products that you can buy (versus what is in the lab).
    May 26, 2012. 02:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Even though fellow LED industry player Rubicon (RBCN -6.8%) is tanking due to its Q1/Q2 warning, Cree (CREE +2.5%) is rallying following its introduction of LED downlight products. Cree boasts its SR Series downlight uses 85% less energy than incandescent alternatives, and that its KR Series is price-competitive with fluorescent solutions.  [View news story]
    Rubicon is a <$50KK player in Al2O3, amongst many players worldwide as Al2O3 reaches further commoditization. They are a relative novice at 6" while Japanese GaN co's have been using large quantities of 6" for over 5 years now. Meanwhile, 2" substrates are the norm for many, many Asian MOCVD growers, especially Chinese start-ups. Al2O3 substrate costs is a given HBLED GaN die is very minor, even in 2" formats.

    To compare Cree to Rubicon, is essentially nonsensical. Cree is a billion $ player and ranks in the Big 5 of HBLED GaN industry. Yes Cree uses Al2O3 in their HBLED production (in addition to SiC), there is still poor comparison.

    The other misconstruction here is that MOCVD is a high production technique for III-V Compound Semiconductors, not just HBLEDs. MOCVD is a much broader technology than just "LEDs", and Cree is more than just "LEDs", even though on RF, Analog and other devices made with MOCVD technology, it has lost much ground compared to its competitors in these markets which have garnered reputable market share comparatively.

    To bundle Rubicon Al2O3 substrates, Cree and Veeco into one "LED" formula, I think, is somewhat of a misstatement.
    May 3, 2012. 01:53 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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