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LEDs ♦ news digest


LED, RFIC, semiconductor, and optical industries saw strong demand for six-inch polished wafers in the quarter, particularly from the LED market


Rubicon Technology, Inc. of Bensenville, IL, USAhas reported financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31st, 2012.


The company reported fourth quarter revenue of $20 million as compared with $19.9 million in the prior quarter. Revenue from six-inch wafer sales showed another sequential increase to $17.5 million from $16.4 million in the prior quarter, a 7 percent increase.


Due to low industry pricing for two through four inch core products, the company decided to sell a limited quantity of those products in the quarter.


Raja Parvez, President and CEO of Rubicon Technology, comments, “We saw strong demand for our six-inch polished wafers in the quarter, particularly from the LED market. We continue to be the largest provider of six-inch polished wafers in the market due to our strength in both large diameter crystal growth and large diameter polishing, evidenced by the fact that we have now shipped over 400,000 polished six-inch wafers to date into the LED and SoS markets.”


While the pricing environment has not improved for two through four inch core products, Rubicon has started taking orders for those products for delivery in the first and second quarters in order to begin reducing inventory levels and maintain customer relationships. With the firm’s resumption of sales into this market, pricing has decreased further.


William Weissman, CFO of Rubicon Technology, says, “Current pricing of two through four inch core products is now below our carrying cost in finished goods and WIP inventory for those products. As a result, we recorded a $1.6 million adjustment in the period to reflect the value of those products in inventory at the current market price.”


He continues, “We believe that our competitors are now selling smaller diameter cores at cash cost in order to reduce inventory or to keep utilisation rates high. However, excess capacity in the market is gradually being absorbed and we believe the pricing environment should eventually improve. Exactly when and how quickly pricing will improve is difficult to predict.”


The company reported a sequential reduction in margins due primarily to the lower smaller diameter product pricing and resulting inventory adjustment. The loss per share in the fourth quarter was $(0.05) as compared with a diluted EPS in the third quarter of a positive $0.01 per share.


First Quarter 2013 Guidance


Commenting on the outlook for the first quarter of 2013, Parvez says, “With the accelerating growth of the general lighting sector of the LED market and with the increasing complexity of mobile devices creating greater opportunity for SoS technology, I am very excited by the longer term growth potential of the markets we serve.


However, they are evolving markets and we will likely continue to see shorter term volatility. In the first quarter, our six-inch


KR Series : LED Specification Downlight


Cree is further expanding the range of LED downlight applications by introducing the KR4 downlight which features an impressive, high lumen 4-inch aperture, with options similar to the 6-inch KR6 downlight.


With new standard 0 to 10V dimming, sloped ceiling and March 2013 ww.compoundsemiconductor.net 79


wafer orders will be lower. Similar to what we experienced last year, our largest LED customer for six-inch wafers has excess inventory and will not likely need additional material until the second quarter. “


“Also, our SoS customer recently announced that their orders are down based on weaker than expected sales by a key end customer. However, they also expressed confidence in a strong second half of the year based on the expected introduction of new smartphone models by their end customers later in the year. As a result, six-inch revenue will be lower in the first quarter. But, we believe we will see strong orders for six-inch wafers in the second half from both the SoS and LED markets.”


Rubicon expects first quarter revenue to be approximately $8 million, down sequentially due to lower six-inch wafer sales. With the reduced sales volumes, utilisation rates will be low in both crystal growth and polishing, putting pressure on the company’s margins in the quarter. As a result, the company expects a loss per share between $(0.10) and $(0.14) in the first quarter based on 22.5 million shares outstanding and a 50 percent tax benefit.


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