It's been a wild couple of years for former TMF Select (now Motley Fool Hidden Gems) selection Cree
Cree's fourth-quarter report itself was fairly solid. However, the company's first-quarter outlook disappointed, and it also announced the resignation of CFO Cynthia Merrell, who will leave office no later than February 2006. As a result, the stock fell 13.3% to $23.70 at Friday's close.
According to Cree, revenues climbed 9% to $98.9 million in the fourth quarter, with gross margins maintained at 51%. The company's profit, however, was flat at $21 million or $0.27 per share. Excluding charges, EPS was $0.29, beating the analyst estimate by a couple of pennies. Revenues, on the other hand, came in short of the $100.5 million estimate.
Worse, the company said that it expected first-quarter earnings of $0.22 to $0.24 per share -- $0.27 to $0.29 per share excluding items -- on sales of $101 to $104 million. Analysts' estimates called for earnings of $0.29 per share on $106.5 million in revenue.
Despite its fluctuating share price, I think Cree still has a bright future. It's got a viable and growing LED business, and the government is funding a good chunk of R&D expenses through deals like a recent $19.7 million Air Force contract. At roughly 19 times fiscal 2006 earnings, Foolish investors might want to give this stock a look.
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