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The solar products that have defined GT Advanced Technologies' (Nasdaq: GTAT ) past may not be what drive the company's future. After years of providing production equipment to the likes of Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL ) , LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK ) , and Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE ) , management has turned its attention to the LED market.
GT Advanced Technologies' backlog shows everything you need to know about the company's changing business model. PV and poly backlog stands at $1.35 billion compared to a sapphire backlog of $952.5 million from a business that didn't exist a couple of years ago.
Not only does the company have a huge backlog for advanced sapphire crystal growth furnaces, GT is also a sapphire core supplier. More than 900 customers, from LEDs to lasers and medical devices, have turned to GT Advanced Technologies for sapphire cores. With a greater-than-30% share of the 6-inch diameter LED core market and sampling of 8-inch cores under way, GT is leading the charge in this growing business.
Companies like General Electric (NYSE: GE ) and Cree (Nasdaq: CREE ) are betting big on the future of the LED industry, but it may be GT Advanced Technologies that emerges as the biggest winner. Like the solar industry, where competitors expanded and cut costs rapidly with new equipment, most of the profit went to the equipment supplier and manufacturers. That has left solar stocks in the dumps while GT Advanced Technologies soared.
Still no love from the market
All of this seems to be lost on GT Advanced Technologies investors at the moment. Shares are currently trading at just 5.9 times earnings, despite the company's strong growth prospects and $377.8 million in net cash.
I think this stock is a steal at its current price and gives great exposure to the growing solar and LED markets. Management even increased gross margin guidance for fiscal 2012, showing continued confidence in the business.
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