Cree's profit soars but provides cautious outlook

Lighting company Cree posts 182 percent jump in earnings; shares slump after cautious outlook

Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Cree Inc., a maker of energy-efficient lighting, reported a 182 percent increase in quarterly net income late Tuesday. But the company provided a more cautious outlook than Wall Street expected, and its stock tumbled 16 percent in after-hours trading.

After the stock market closed Tuesday, the company posted $28.2 million, or 23 cents a share, in net income for its fiscal fourth quarter ending June 30. That's nearly triple the $10 million, or 9 cents a share, of quarterly net income Cree reported the year before.

Adjusted for certain charges, the company's earnings worked out to 38 cents per share. That matched the average estimate of financial analysts according to the data provider FactSet.

Cree is best known as the maker of LED lights and products that go along with them. The company said its revenue rose 22 percent to $375 million in the fourth quarter, helped by stronger sales of lighting products. But the revenue results fell short of analysts' average forecast of $378 million.

In a statement, Chuck Swoboda, Cree's CEO, praised the company's results. "Our fiscal fourth quarter was a strong finish to a great year, with record revenue and good earnings growth in line with our targets," he said.

The company estimates that its first-quarter adjusted earnings will be around 36 cents to 41 cents per share and revenue will between $380 million and $400 million.

Analysts had been looking for fourth-quarter earnings of 43 cents per share and revenue of $399 million on average, according to FactSet.

Investors have flocked to Cree's stock this year in the expectation that more companies and households will replace old fluorescent and incandescent lights with LED bulbs. Since the start of the year, the stock has soared 123 percent through the close of regular trading Tuesday.

After the release of Tuesday's earnings report, the stock was off $11.91 to $63.90.

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