Every LCD TV set will soon come with LED backlighting, and the top manufacturers will get there in 2011. Incandescent light bulbs will be not meet energy guidelines by 2014, replaced by fluorescent lights, LED lamps, and eventually OLED panels.
It should be obvious that LED demand will explode -- and soon.
If nothing else, that's the message that Veeco Systems
CEO John Peeler, speaking to analysts after last night's fourth-quarter report, noted that LED demand from the LCD screen market needs to double the number of manufacturing devices installed at LG Display
If OLED lights turn out a winner on the open market, Veeco won't get caught flat-footed. "We do have OLED strategies and products, and we have not rolled those out yet," Peeler said.
That said, much of the growth may already be accounted for. Veeco's fourth-quarter earnings more than quadrupled year-over-year to $1.62 per share, thanks to a combination of cost controls and terrific sales. Revenue jumped by 152% to an even $300 million, led by a 163% increase in LED and solar equipment sales. The manufacturing buildouts are clearly already happening. That's the bad news.
The good news: Veeco's shares haven't followed suit. The stock trades at just 10.7 times trailing earnings which is well below the estimated five-year growth rate of 13% and also cheaper than metrology rivals Agilent Technologies
The lighting market is changing quickly, but you haven't missed the boat yet.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.