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Universal Display Lights the Fuse

By Anders Bylund – Updated Apr 5, 2017 at 9:10PM

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No more delaying this countdown -- OLED technology is ready for blast-off.

I've been telling you for a while about Universal Display (NASDAQ:PANL), and how the company's OLED technology is setting up for a rocket blast into the stratosphere. But it's always been with a "patience, young grasshopper" caveat.

Well, that launch is no longer a dim hope for the future. It's looking more like a certainty in a quarter or two.

OLED displays and lighting systems are finally ready to step into the marketplace in a big way. Manufacturing costs are dropping fast, and they'll plummet even faster when Universal partners like AU Optronics (NYSE:AUO), Samsung SDI (Pink Sheets: SSDIF), LG Display (NYSE:LPL), and Seiko Epson build out their OLED manufacturing plants.

Here, have some pudding -- 80-proof. The company just reported a massive increase in commercial revenue, to $1.4 million from $390,000 a year ago. That's a threefold rise, with sugar on top.

Of course, Mr. Market couldn't see past the dropping total revenue -- development contracts keep falling off the table -- so the stock is a little cheaper today. Universal Display is becoming a business for profit, rather than a development house for fancy science-fictiony technologies. All told, Universal lost $0.15 per share (down from last year's $0.16) on $2.1 million in revenue (down from $2.3 million).

Yes, these are small numbers, and Universal Display is a small company today. But it stands ready to kick off a revolution across multiple multibillion-dollar markets with super-thin, ultra-efficient, and even flexible digital displays. It's also devising lighting panels (under development for the U.S. Department of Defense) that can match the light output of a regular 100-watt bulb on a scant 17 watts of power -- all without warming up your carefully air-conditioned living room, and with more than 15 times the expected life of incandescent bulbs. GE (NYSE:GE) and Philips (NYSE:PHG) better watch out. Their market-leading light-bulb businesses are going out of style.

That's what a real Rule Breaker like Universal Display can do, and the fuse has been lit with a blowtorch. This company won't stay tiny and anonymous much longer. Stay on the sidelines at your own peril.

Further Foolishness:

Universal Display is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days

Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a longtime Universal Display shareholder, but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure makes sure that you're never in the dark.

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Stocks Mentioned

General Electric Company Stock Quote
General Electric Company
$64.56 (-2.51%) $-1.66
LG Display Stock Quote
LG Display
$4.72 (-2.88%) $0.14
AU Optronics Stock Quote
AU Optronics
$6.31 (1.12%) $0.07
Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV Stock Quote
Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV
$15.01 (-4.82%) $0.76
Universal Display Stock Quote
Universal Display
$99.49 (-3.53%) $-3.64

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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