Cree reports $86.9M profit for 2012-13

Aug. 13, 2013 @ 07:16 PM

Cree Inc. executives say the LED lighting maker booked an $86.9 million profit in fiscal 2012-13, nearly double what it managed the year before.

The return came on the back of a 19 percent increase in net revenue, which clocked in at nearly $1.4 billion.

Chuck Swoboda, Cree’s chairman and CEO, said the revenue boost was “driven by the success of new products” in all of the company’s major business sectors.

He singled out among other things a new line of LED bulbs Cree is marketing to consumers at Home Depot stores, and the company’s success in convincing the owners of gasoline stations and convenience stores to switch to LED lighting.

“We’re in a great position to take advantage of the global shift” to the new technology and drive growth by “taking share from traditional technologies,” Swoboda said.

The company’s as-yet-unaudited income statements said it spent $155.9 million on research and development in fiscal 2012-13 and paid $20.6 million in taxes on its income.

Research spending was up about 9 percent.

Questioned by finance-industry analysts, Swoboda said the firm is focusing simultaneously on developing diode-based lights that are cost-competitive with traditional filament and fluorescent models and on reducing the cost of producing them.

He also said Cree is adding to its production capacity.

Swoboda and Chief Financial Officer Mike McDevitt said Cree expects to take in between $380 million and $400 million in revenue during the opening three months of fiscal 2013-14. Its fiscal year opens on July 1 and closes each June 30.

Analyst questions during a conference call on Tuesday focused among other things on whether the company will be able to reap profit from more efficient production or be forced, sometime in the near future, to pass the savings on to customers.

“I don’t see a significant shift in the pricing in the short term,” Swoboda said in answer to one such inquiry, focusing on its light bulbs.

Cree’s stock price closed at $75.76 a share on the Nasdaq exchange Tuesday afternoon but later dropped by $11.92 a share in after-hours trading that followed the earnings announcement.

Reports indicated that the drop was a function of the company’s fourth-quarter results falling short of analyst expectations and of Cree executives’ generally cautious predictions about the quarter ahead.