Cree CEO: Company looking at ‘strategic opportunities’

Apr. 22, 2014 @ 07:49 PM

Cree Inc.’s CEO Chuck Swoboda said company officials are looking at “strategic opportunities” to expand its product portfolio in a conference call about its third-quarter financial results Tuesday.

Swoboda indicated that the company will be looking to potentially make targeted investments in capacity and into strategic opportunities to enhance its product portfolio. He said some strategic opportunities may emerge over the next months as new LED technology accelerates and enters a consolidation phase.
And while he confirmed that the company is looking at a possible merger or acquisition move, he also said it’s not “imminent” and said the company is looking at “lots of different things.”
“This is something that I think will evolve over the next couple of years,” he said. “I know that (I) put it out there – I did that because I don’t want people (to be) surprised if and when we get to the point of doing something,” he added.
Swoboda spoke to investors as part of the company’s announcements about its quarterly earnings. In the third quarter of its fiscal year 2014, Durham-based LED lighting maker Cree saw its earnings grow 27 percent to nearly $28.2 million compared with the prior fiscal year.
And while the company’s revenues grew 16 percent year-over-year to almost $405.3 million, its revenue total fell below analysts’ expectations. According to Thomson Reuters, the average analyst estimate for revenue in the quarter was $407.3 million.
Swoboda said the company saw a 3 percent increase in sales of LEDs, a 35 percent increase in LED lighting sales, and a 21 percent growth in sales of its semiconductor products for power and radio-frequency (RF) applications in the quarter.
Swoboda said the company is continuing a strategy of trying to lead with innovation and to achieve cost parity with more traditional lighting products. He spoke about the company’s release of a LED bulb as a replacement for a traditional 100-watt bulb. He said the company’s bulb sales increased in the quarter, and added that lower retail prices for some of the bulbs in its retail LED bulb line helped to boost sales, he said.
For the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014, the company is targeting revenue coming in between $430 million and $460 million, and its net income to be in a range of between $28.2 million and $36.3 million.
The company’s stock price was trading down about 8 percent in after-hours trading to $53.17 per share.