Universal Display: From Obscurity to Celebrity

It used to be difficult to cover Universal Display (Nasdaq: PANL  ) . That's changing fast.

The OLED technology that Universal Display makes a living from has finally broken into the mainstream. A couple of years ago, I had to stretch for high-end Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) television sets or obscure Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) handsets if I wanted to give you an example of where you could see OLED screens in action. Only serious gearheads would understand what I was talking about.

Now, that's all different. The Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Nexus One phone ships with a beautiful OLED screen, and so does the HTC Droid Incredible that's available today at a Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) Wireless store near you. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) built this power-sipping, high-definition display technology into its Zune HD player, and Samsung is using OLED all over the place. It's easy to find an example of what Universal Display does these days.

And that commercial success is showing in the company's business results. Total revenues in Universal Display's just-reported first quarter came in at $4.2 million, up from $2.8 million a year ago. Combined with tight control of operating costs and fewer costs to outsourcing partner PPG Industries (Nasdaq: PPG  ) , the growing sales resulted in a net loss of $0.08 per share -- much smaller than the $0.15 loss per share seen a year ago.

So the commercialization of Universal Display's OLED technology is finally hitting its stride, and given the manufacturing build-out plans of major customers like Samsung and LG Display, I can see the red ink turning black in the near future.

After the small OLED screens for smartphones and media players, there will be larger screens for TV sets or laptops. And then, flexible displays and light fixtures. The good times have started rolling for Universal Display, and they're going to keep rolling for many years yet.

This five-star CAPS stock may be my favorite long-term holding of any kind. Do you see what I see? Spill the beans in the comments below, please.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google and Universal Display, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Microsoft and Nokia are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Google and Universal Display are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. 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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  • Report this Comment On May 11, 2010, at 7:55 PM, thomasj173 wrote:

    After I did my due diligence and checked out his recommendation to BUY Cirrus Logic, I hopped in a few weeks back. Low and behold he nailed it and add a screaming endorsement from Cramer last night only confirms my suspicion that Mr. Bylund knows what he is talking about. Thanks for the tip(s).

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2010, at 10:23 AM, Cavalier0812 wrote:

    I've done research on this company and followed it for a couple of months so far. Great company with unbelievable technology. The growth that this could see is huge. Will likely become a buyout candidate in a couple years, maybe from Samsung their largest consumer.

    Little downside too with no debt.

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