Shares of Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED) keep rolling. The patent-rich pioneer of display technology based on organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) moved 12.3% higher last week, after posting better-than-expected quarterly results. An analyst also boosted his price target on the shares following the strong report.
Universal Display stock hit an all-time high on Friday. The shares have now soared 69% since bottoming out four months ago.
Revenue rose 20% since the prior year's fourth quarter to hit $74.6 million. A 27% surge in royalty and license fees and a 5% uptick in material sales combined to deliver the strong top-line showing. Wall Street pros were holding out for only $68.6 million in quarterly revenue, 10% ahead of 2015's fourth-quarter performance. Universal Display's top line grew twice as fast.
The news was also strong on the bottom line. Earnings shot 43% higher, clocking in at $25.8 million, or $0.55 a share. Analysts were expecting a profit of only $0.42 a share.
Momentum continues to build for OLED as an energy-efficient lighting source for smartphones, TVs, and other screens. Total emitter sales rose 25% sequentially, and Universal Display is in the process of doubling its phosphorescent emitter production capacity. Buzz keeps building around the possibility that the next iPhone will make the leap to OLED, a move that would be a no-brainer, given the battery life-enhancing and flexibility benefits of the display technology.
The future looks bright
Canaccord analyst John Quealy responded on Friday by boosting his price target from $49 to $65. That's a big move, but keep in mind that the stock hit an all-time high of $82.50 before closing at $81 on Friday. Quealy is not a bull, but it's comforting to know that he boosted his price target instead of downgrading the stock from his reiterated "hold" rating. It would've been hard to justify a neutral position on the stock with a price target of $49, with the stock trading 65% higher than that goal.
Quealy accepts that there's a tantalizing market opportunity with OLED technology, and Universal Display is the market darling that owns or has license rights to more than 4,200 issued or pending patents governing the display tech. Quealy is still waiting for a smoother pathway to monetization to justify the stock's risk/reward ratio at current levels.
The market itself is more bullish on the stock. Universal Display is targeting $230 million to $250 million in revenue this year, representing growth of 16% to 26% on the top line. Analysts see earnings growing even faster. Universal Display also initiated a quarterly distribution policy. The $0.03-per-share payout every three months isn't going to be a magnet for income investors. That's a yield of less than 0.2%. It is, however, perhaps the first indicator that the spigot is starting to get turned on at Universal Display, and it's going to give investors another way to make money beyond capital appreciation.