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This Is the Tipping Point for OLED Investors

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Are you ready for some OLED?

That's what Hank Williams Jr. would howl if he was into next-generation lighting and display tech. It's also what investors in OLED kingpin Universal Display (Nasdaq: PANL  ) are singing as they strap in for a rocket ride.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!
After years of "coming soon" and unrealized promise, Universal Display is now reaping the benefits of its first-mover advantage. Samsung is putting OLED screens in as many of its own products as possible, even while HTC and other phone makers are lining up, hat in hand, to get a tiny sliver of the leading OLED screen manufacturer's monthly output. Reports are that Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) and even mighty Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) have shied away from OLED because demand is so robust and the production capacity from large manufacturers like Samsung simply isn't there. Isn't there, yet. The global technology giant is investing $2.2 billion in a new OLED factory, set to pump out about 30 million smartphone-sized screens a month starting next year.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) has taken some pressure off Samsung with the release of the handsome Droid X. The OLED-equipped Droid Incredible now ships in a matter of days, not weeks. Meanwhile, Samsung is flooding every major American service provider from Verizon and AT&T (NYSE: T  ) to Cellular South and U.S. Cellular (NYSE: USM  ) with Galaxy S variants all sporting Super AMOLED screens.

Show me the money!
Universal Display's second quarter saw a 114% year-over-year revenue explosion to $6.3 million after you back out a one-time $2.1 million benefit from an expired technology license. Net losses added up to $4.4 million, or $0.12 per share, but that includes another one-time and non-cash item. After a dazzling 64% run in the past 12 months, Universal Display's stock is trading near 10-year highs and outstanding stock warrants had to be reappraised at a much higher value. That's the dark side of doing too good, I suppose.

In case you're doubting the timeliness of jumping in right now, consider that Universal Display's sales nearly doubled from the first quarter. This is an inflection point, a tipping point, the point of no return. While Universal Display will still be a small-cap for another couple of years, the stock will never again be this cheap. From here on out, you'll see a parade of blowout quarters, pushing the stock higher at every turn.

What's next?
This is just the beginning. Thanks to Samsung, LG Display (NYSE: LPL  ) , and others building out production lines and marketing OLED screens to a hungry global demographic, industry analyst DisplaySearch estimates that OLED screens will start to dominate both handheld gadgets and big-screen TVs by 2016, creating a $5 billion annual market. On top of that, white OLED lighting is getting closer to commercial products and DisplaySearch sees a $6 billion market for it in the year 2018. As a key patent holder of OLED technology, this is all music to Universal Display's ears.

If you're ready for some OLED, do yourself a favor and give Universal Display a thumbs-up rating in our CAPS system.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. He can't wait to get ready for some football on a big, beautiful OLED screen sometime in the next few years. Universal Display is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2010, at 9:42 AM, smikey055 wrote:

    PANL - "the stock will never again be this cheap." Really? Sounds like someone has a crystal ball. In fact, it's cheaper today than it was yesterday.

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