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What: Shares of GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQOTH:GTATQ) jumped more than 26% during intraday trading Tuesday after the company significantly missed earnings expectations, but simultaneously announced a deal to supply sapphire material to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
So what: Quarterly revenue came in at just $40.3 million, badly missing estimates which called for sales of $92.5 million. Meanwhile, that translated to an adjusted net loss of $0.16 per share, which also fell short of expectations for a loss of only $0.01 per share on the same basis.
However, GT Advanced Technologies also stated it has entered into a multiyear supply agreement with Apple, under which it will own and operate Advanced Sapphire Furnaces to produce sapphire material for use in the Cupertino-based tech giant's wildly popular devices.
Now what: Apple is also providing GT with a prepayment of roughly $578 million, for which GT will reimburse Apple over a five-year period starting in 2015. That'll help the smaller company get its new operations up and running, including a new facility in Arizona where GT expects to employ more than 700 people.
It's also worth noting management was quick to add the caveat that, despite continued sapphire manufacturing cost improvements, gross margin from this new materials business is "expected to be substantially lower than GT's historical equipment margins." However, given the current continued weakness in its core photovoltaic solar business, it's safe to say that's a trade-off they're willing to accept.
That said, and as I suggested earlier this year, I'm still convinced GT's PV sales will rebound over the next few years. When that happens, and given GT's newfound stability from Apple, patient long-term investors will be glad they didn't take profits today.
Fool contributor Steve Symington owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.