Cree Reports Financial Results for the First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2015

Quarterly Revenue Increased 9% Year-over-Year to $428 million
Quarterly Net Income Decreased 64% Year-over-Year to $11.1 million

DURHAM, NC -- Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), a market leader in LED lighting, today announced revenue of $427.7 million for its first quarter of fiscal 2015, ended September 28, 2014. This represents a 9% increase compared to revenue of $391.0 million reported for the first quarter of fiscal 2014. GAAP net income for the first quarter was $11.1 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, a decrease of 64% year-over-year compared to GAAP net income of $30.5 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2014. On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 was $29.6 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, a decrease of 38% year-over-year compared to non-GAAP net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 of $47.3 million, or $0.39 per diluted share.

“We have good momentum in our Lighting and Power & RF segments, although fiscal Q1 results were below our targeted levels due primarily to lower than expected LED demand,” stated Chuck Swoboda, Cree Chairman and CEO. “While the LED industry conditions are challenging, we’re confident that innovation is still the key to leading the market and driving growth in all of our businesses. Given our technology leadership, new product pipeline and strong balance sheet, we remain uniquely positioned to capitalize as the industry transitions to LED lighting.”

Q1 2015 Financial Metrics
(in thousands, except per share amounts and percentages)

Cree Q1 FY15 earnings release

  • Gross margin decreased 540 basis points from Q4 of fiscal 2014 to 31.8% on a GAAP basis, and decreased 550 basis points to 32.4% on a non-GAAP basis.
  • Cash and investments decreased by $57.6 million from Q4 of fiscal 2014 to $1.1 billion.
  • Accounts receivable, net increased by $11.8 million from Q4 of fiscal 2014 to $237.0 million, with days sales outstanding of 50.
  • Inventory increased by $26.0 million from Q4 of fiscal 2014 to $310.8 million and represents 96 days of inventory.

Recent Business Highlights:

  • Introduced the Cree® ZR High-Efficacy (HE) LED troffer, the first commercially available 150-lumens-per-watt LED troffer in the market;
  • Launched the Cree XLamp® MH-B LED, a new generation of high-power LEDs that delivers better performance and a more-effective way to achieve low-cost systems than mid-power LEDs;
  • Announced a cooperation with Lextar Electronics whereby Cree will make an investment in Lextar and the companies will enter into a supply agreement for sapphire-based LED chips;
  • Released the industry’s first all-SiC, 1.7kV power module in an industry-standard 62-mm housing, enabling engineers to design systems that are smaller, more efficient, more reliable and lower cost.

Business Outlook:

For its second quarter of fiscal 2015 ending December 28, 2014, Cree targets revenue in a range of $400 million to $420 million with GAAP gross margin targeted to be 32.6%+/- and non-GAAP gross margin targeted to be 33.5%+/-. Our GAAP gross margin targets include stock-based compensation expense of approximately $3.4 million, while our non-GAAP targets do not. Operating expenses are targeted to increase approximately $2 million from Q1. The tax rate is targeted at 22.5%+/- for the second quarter of fiscal 2015. GAAP net income is targeted at $6 million to $10 million, or $0.05 to $0.09 per diluted share. Non-GAAP net income is targeted in a range of $24 million to $29 million, or $0.20 to $0.24 per diluted share. The GAAP and non-GAAP net income per diluted share targets are based on an estimated 120 million diluted weighted average shares. Targeted non-GAAP earnings exclude expenses related to the amortization of acquired intangibles, stock-based compensation expense and asset retirement charges of $0.15 per diluted share.

Quarterly Conference Call:

Cree will host a conference call at 5:00 p.m. EST today to review the highlights of the fiscal 2015 first quarter results and the fiscal 2015 second quarter 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. For webcast details, visit Cree's website at investor.cree.com/events.cfm.

Supplemental financial information, including the non-GAAP reconciliation attached to this press release, is available on Cree's website at investor.cree.com/results.cfm.

About Cree, Inc.

Cree is leading the LED lighting revolution and making energy-wasting traditional lighting technologies obsolete through the use of energy-efficient, mercury-free LED lighting. Cree is a market-leading innovator of lighting-class LEDs, lighting products and semiconductor products for power and radio frequency (RF) applications.

Cree's product families include LED lighting systems and bulbs, blue and green LED chips, high-brightness LEDs, lighting-class power LEDs, power-switching devices and RF devices. Cree's products are driving improvements in applications such as general illumination, electronic signs and signals, power supplies and inverters.

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 and expenses which 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 in the forward-looking statements. Actual results, including with respect to our targets and prospects, could differ materially due to a number of factors, including the risk that we may not obtain sufficient orders to achieve our targeted revenues; price competition in key markets; the risk that we or our channel partners are not able to develop and expand customer bases and accurately anticipate demand from end customers, which can result in increased inventory and reduced orders as we experience wide fluctuations in supply and demand; the risk that our results will suffer if we are unable to balance fluctuations in customer demand and capacity; product mix; risks associated with the ramp-up of production of our new products, and our entry into new business channels different from those in which we have historically operated; the risk that we may experience production difficulties that preclude us from shipping sufficient quantities to meet customer orders or that result in higher production costs and lower margins; our ability to lower costs; the risk that customers do not maintain their favorable perception of our brand and products, resulting in lower demand for our products; the risk that retail customers may alter promotional pricing, increase promotion of a competitor's products over our products or reduce their inventory levels, all of which could negatively affect product demand; the risk that we have an increasingly complex supply chain and its ability to scale to enable maintaining a sufficient supply of raw materials; ongoing uncertainty in global economic conditions, infrastructure development or customer demand 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; the risk we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings if our goodwill or amortizable assets become impaired; our ability to complete development and commercialization of products under development, such as our pipeline of improved LED chips, LED components and LED lighting products; 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; risks related to our multi-year warranty periods for LED lighting products; risks associated with acquisitions, divestitures or investments, including our ability to complete our previously announced transaction with Lextar Electronics; 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 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, 2014, and subsequent reports filed with the SEC. These forward-looking statements represent Cree's judgment as of the date of this release. Except as required under the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations of the SEC, Cree disclaims any intent or 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.

Cree®, the Cree logo, and XLamp® are registered trademarks of Cree, Inc.

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