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Things haven't been great for OLED specialist Universal Display (Nasdaq: PANL ) after the company posted disappointing first-quarter results. Universal's revenue fell short of Street expectations, leading to a quarterly loss despite analyst expectations for a slight profit, triggering a downslide in its share price.
Universal's full-year forecast did not help, either, as it came in below many analyst estimates. That brings us to the question -- is the general pessimism surrounding Universal justified?
Figuring it out
Universal's quarterly revenue increased 31% from the prior-year period to $12.6 million, mainly driven by revenue from its OLED material sales, which more than doubled. However, this revenue figure did not include royalty and license fees in connection to its new agreement with Samsung Mobile Display, which, if taken into account by the company, would have added another $7.5 million to total revenue. This led to the company's bottom line posting a loss of $1.2 million. Under the agreement, Samsung is supposed to pay Universal as much as $15 million in both the second and fourth quarters. Now let's take a look at why Universal should pull through in the long run.
An OLED-driven future
Universal has one of the largest patent portfolios with more than 1,400 issued and pending patents for technology and materials relating to OLED products. This means that the company is entitled a royalty for the production of OLED screens and OLED lighting products. AMOLED screens are predominantly used in a number of smartphones and tablet devices, and this remains a significant growth driver for the company. According to DisplaySearch, smartphones using OLED displays this year could reach 176.5 million units. This figure is expected to go up by almost 50% to 261 million units in 2013.
But OLED displays have other uses apart from the smartphone industry, with OLED televisions becoming the new market buzzword. Recently, we saw two consumer product giants, LG and Samsung, show off 55-inch OLED televisions at the Consumer Electronics Show this year in Las Vegas. With both being Universal's customers, it's just a matter of time before this new product category translates into more royalty and material-based revenue for the company.
And another one of Universal's key customers, AU Optronics (NYSE: AUO ) has already set up a Gen 6 OLED production line that would roll out televisions upwards of 32 inches by the end of this year.
But besides televisions, innovative flexible OLED displays are also set to become a reality soon.
Samsung is also planning to introduce flexible OLED displays, called YOUM, in the fourth quarter this year. Even LG Display (NYSE: LPL ) is planning to foray into the mobile size flexible AMOLED display market. The introduction of such new product categories can only add to Universal's top line.
A few Foolish last words
Universal Display might have had a bad run recently, but given that OLED is poised for accelerated growth in the coming years, the company does have a fair opportunity to grow.
Like fellow Fool Anders Bylund, I choose not to panic and remain positive about Universal Display in the long run. For now, I plan to keep a close watch on Universal Display and so can you by adding it to your free watchlist.
Universal Display is certainly cashing in on the smartphone industry growth story with its updated OLED technology. But, if you want to know of other ways to benefit from "The Next Trillion-Dollar Revolution" in mobile devices, you should check out this special free report written by some of the brightest minds at The Motley Fool.