Editor's note: In the previous version of this article, we indicated that Veeco's atomic force microscopes (AFM) compete with the Titan line of microscopes from FEI
For the latest quarter, the data-storage and high-brightness-LED segments performed strongly, but the semiconductor and scientific-research segments were weaker. Combining all the results, though, resulted in revenue of $111.6 million, which beat analyst expectations of $108 million and represented an 8% increase from a year ago. Earnings came in at $3 million, or $0.10 per share.
The immediate future looks promising. Orders rose 21% higher from a year ago and 13% higher from the previous quarter. Data-storage orders also rose and are being driven by the trend toward perpendicular recording among its hard-drive customers. Perpendicular recording technologies allow companies like Seagate
Orders from high-brightness-LED manufacturers more than doubled from the previous year to reach $27.4 million, and Veeco believes that the rising use of those brighter LEDs in LCD notebook-computer monitors and TV screens will continue to drive investments from these customers.
While the semiconductor segment was somewhat weak this quarter, it may be picking up. Orders reached $20 million, a 98% uptick from the previous quarter and a 6% rise from the previous year. Management also just announced a large order of atomic force microscopes (AFMs) from semiconductor and data-storage companies -- a development that appears to show that Veeco's AFM technology is well accepted.
Overall, it was a good quarter for Veeco, but the quarter also revealed the problem with being involved in several unrelated cyclical market segments -- namely, while one or two segments may do well over a given time period, another one always seems to be holding back the results. Nevertheless, with Veeco's end markets growing strongly, an investor with a long time horizon should have some reason for optimism here.