April 21, 2009

Cree Reports Financial Results for the Third Quarter of Fiscal Year 2009

DURHAM, N.C. -- Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), a market leader in LED lighting, today announced revenue of $131.1 million for its third quarter of fiscal 2009, ended March 29, 2009. This represents a 5% increase compared to revenue of $125.0 million reported for the third fiscal quarter last year and an 11% decrease compared to the fiscal second quarter of 2009. GAAP net income for the third quarter was $4.0 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, compared to net income of $5.7 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2008. On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was $11.8 million, or $0.13 per diluted share compared to net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2008, which was $12.0 million or $0.14 per diluted share. Cree generated $49.9 million of operating cash flow and $40.5 million of free cash flow during the third quarter.

“Q3 was a solid quarter for Cree, as we achieved revenue and profits within our previously announced targets,” stated Chuck Swoboda, Cree Chairman and CEO. “Growth in LED lighting partially offset lower demand for auto, mobile and consumer applications in Q3, and we target total LED revenue to rebound in Q4 driven by increased demand for commercial lighting and video screens. As we look ahead to Fiscal 2010, we are targeting our LED lighting and LED component product lines to continue to grow, and we are planning to continue to invest in R&D and capacity to enable this growth.”

Recent Business Highlights:
* Earned commercial and residential ENERGY STAR® qualifications for best-in-class LED downlight family. The product line, including the LR6, LR5 and LR4 downlights, has demonstrated LED lifetime and fixture efficacy that qualifies for the stringent commercial rating, as well as the residential rating.

* Welcomed the University of Miami and the University of Alaska at Anchorage to the LED University™ program. The University of Miami has installed new LED pole lights to improve walkway illumination on the main campus and is evaluating LED lighting for interior applications such as conference rooms, hallways and classrooms. The University of Alaska at Anchorage recently completed a parking lot pilot and is also evaluating LED lighting for recessed lighting in stairwells and mechanical rooms, walkway bollards and parking-lot lights for the new Health Science Building.

* Welcomed Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to the LED City® Program. Chapel Hill has installed LED streetlights along the high-profile 100 block of Franklin Street, one of the town’s most recognizable landmarks. According to Mayor Kevin Foy, “By replacing low-pressure sodium streetlights with LEDs, Chapel Hill can reduce energy consumption for street lighting, which we hope will positively impact our budget as well as our carbon emissions.”

* Launched the Product Characterization Tool (PCT), an interactive LED design tool that simplifies the task of translating nominal LED performance to real-world conditions. Cree’s PCT, which introduces functionality not commercially offered by any other LED supplier, allows users to easily characterize any XLamp® LED over a wide range of operating conditions, including drive current, flux bin, price and junction temperature. It also calculates metrics such as lumen output, lumens per watt, and lumens per dollar.

* Developed a demonstration dual switch 1200-volt, 100-amp power module featuring all-SiC semiconductors and capable of operating at junction temperatures up to 200 degrees C. This was accomplished by working with both the United States Air Force Research Lab Propulsion Directorate and high-power module pioneer Powerex, Inc. The all-SiC power switch module can be an enabling technology for next-generation military systems.

Q3 2009 Financial Metrics:

* Accounts receivable decreased $5.6 million from Q2 of fiscal 2009 to $102.9 million, resulting in days sales outstanding of 71, an increase of 5 days from Q2 of fiscal 2009.

* Inventory decreased $1.3 million from Q2 of fiscal 2009 to $77.5 million and represents 83 days of inventory, an increase of 5 days from Q2 of fiscal 2009.

* Cash and investments increased $39.4 million to $404.9 million, with cash flow from operations of $49.9 million and free cash flow (cash flow from operations less capital expenditures) of $40.5 million.

Business Outlook:
For its fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 ending June 28, 2009, Cree targets revenue in a range of $137 million to $143 million with GAAP earnings of $0.05 to $0.07 per diluted share and non-GAAP earnings of $0.13 to $0.15 per diluted share, based on an estimated 89 million diluted weighted average shares. Targeted non-GAAP earnings exclude expenses related to the amortization of acquired intangibles of $0.03 per diluted share, and stock-based compensation expense of $0.05 per diluted share.

Quarterly Conference Call:
Cree will host a conference call at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time today to review the highlights of the fiscal third quarter 2009 results and the fiscal fourth quarter 2009 business outlook, including significant factors and assumptions underlying the targets noted above. The conference call will be available to the public through a live audio web broadcast via the Internet. Log on to Cree’s website at www.cree.com and go to “Investor Relations — Overview” for webcast details. The call will be archived and available on the website through May 5, 2009.

Supplemental financial information, including the non-GAAP reconciliation attached to this press release, is available in the “Investor Relations” section of Cree’s website, under “Financial Metrics,” “Quarter ending March 29, 2009,” at www.cree.com.

About Cree, Inc.
Cree is leading the LED lighting revolution and setting the stage to obsolete the incandescent light bulb through the use of energy-efficient, environmentally friendly LED lighting. Cree is a market-leading innovator of lighting-class LEDs, LED lighting solutions, and semiconductor solutions for wireless and power applications.

Cree’s product families include recessed LED down lights, lighting-class power LEDs, high-brightness LEDs, blue and green LED chips, power-switching devices and radio-frequency/wireless devices. Cree solutions are driving improvements in applications such as general illumination, backlighting, electronic signs and signals, variable-speed motors, and wireless communications.

For additional product and company information, please refer to www.cree.com.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures:
This press release highlights the company’s financial results on both a GAAP and a non-GAAP basis. The GAAP results include certain costs, charges, gains and losses that are excluded from non-GAAP results. By publishing the non-GAAP measures, management intends to provide investors with additional information to further analyze the company's performance, core results and underlying trends. Cree’s management evaluates results and makes operating decisions using both GAAP and non-GAAP measures included in this press release. Non-GAAP results are not prepared in accordance with GAAP, and non-GAAP information should be considered a supplement to, and not a substitute for, financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP. Investors and potential investors are encouraged to review the reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures to their most directly comparable GAAP measures attached to this press release.

Forward-Looking Statements:
The schedules attached to this release are an integral part of the release. This press release contains forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown, that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated. Actual results, including with respect to our targets and prospects, could differ materially due to a number of factors, including current uncertainty in global economic conditions that could negatively affect product demand, collectability of receivables and other related matters as consumers and businesses may defer purchases or payments, or default on payments, in response to tighter credit and negative financial news; our ability to complete development and commercialization of products under development, such as our pipeline of brighter LED chips, LED components and LED lighting retrofit solutions; our ability to lower costs; increasing price competition in key markets; the risk that, due to the complexity of our manufacturing processes and transition of production to larger wafers, we may experience production delays that preclude us from shipping sufficient quantities to meet customer orders or that result in higher production costs and lower margins; risks associated with the ramp-up of our production for our new products, as well as production at our Huizhou facility and subcontractors; risks resulting from the concentration of our business among few customers, including the risk that customers may reduce or cancel orders or fail to honor purchase commitments; the rapid development of new technology and competing products that may impair demand or render our products obsolete; the potential lack of customer acceptance for our products; risks associated with our recent acquisitions; risks associated with ongoing litigation; and other factors discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including our report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 29, 2008, and subsequent reports filed with the SEC. Except as required under the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations of the SEC, Cree disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements after the date of this release, whether as a result of new information, future events, developments, changes in assumptions or otherwise.