If either LED lights or solar power takes off, Veeco Instruments
Am I the only one taking crazy pills?
In the third quarter, Veeco saw sales jump by 271% year over year, to $277 million, and turned a breakeven bottom line into $2.16 of GAAP earnings per share. For those of you keeping score at home, that translates into a 32.9% net margin. Growth is off the charts, the business is strongly profitable, and the report was stronger than the usual Wall Street suspects had expected. Yet, Veeco fell more than 7% the next day and is trading for less than 8.3 times forward earnings.
The reason for that drop is that some orders for solar panel and LED materials manufacturing equipment might get pushed from the fourth quarter to the first quarter because of unpredictable "customer facility readiness." In other words, the next quarter might be merely amazing instead of outright incredible because a few customers in Korea and Taiwan might not have their new factories ready for new equipment in time for the closing of the books. We're not talking about lost sales, but a mere timing issue. If those sales move from one quarter to the next, the first quarter of 2011 will make up for the shortfall right away.
Veeco has a strong customer list that includes LED lighting leaders LG Electronics and Philips
So let's recap: Veeco makes essential tools for -- count 'em -- three industries with a thing for growth, trades at ridiculously low earnings multiples, and is getting punished for a very short-term issue not likely to cause any long-term damage. What more do you need to hear before joining Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner in praising Veeco? To keep track of Veeco, you can add the stock to your watchlist or make a call in your CAPS account right now.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors. 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.