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In his own words: Cree's top exec spells out revised strategy

Cree's Chuck Swoboda

Apr, 26 2017, 7:14 AM

After deciding not to sell its Wolfspeed power business for $850 million when regulators wouldn't approve a deal in February, Cree Chair and CEO Chuck Swoboda on Tuesday spelled out further revisions of the LED and semiconductor firm's strategy for growth.

Wolfspeed products are crucial to the plan with the emergence of markets for next-generation"5G" high-speed wireless networks as well as electric vehicles. And Swoboda noted that demand is putting pressure on Cree's production capacity.

He announced a joint LED venture with a Chinese firm (San'an) and pointed out plans to increase capacity for Wolfspeed products. In his own words, he spells out his thinking after Cree's (Nasdaq: Cree) stock took a 5 percent dip in after-hours trading on news the Durham-based company lost $99 million or $1.02 per share in its latest quarter.

Swoboda's comments, edited for length, as provided by business news website SeekingAlpha:

"We are focused on the following priorities to support our strategy to deliver higher revenue and profits.

"We're investing in the Wolfspeed business to increase capacity and further develop the technology to support longer-term growth opportunities in silicon carbide materials, silicon carbide power devices and modules, and gallium nitride RF devices.

"We've invested in these technologies since the company was founded almost 30 years ago, and we're now starting to see more significant growth as a result of this investment. Our silicon carbide materials and power device technology is being designed into the latest generation of electric vehicles, enabling more efficient electric drives and charging systems.

"We currently have considerable demand with orders into fiscal 2018 from the first applications, which has stressed our silicon carbide materials capacity. ...

"In addition to the power side of the business, we're also working with several large RF device companies to supply gallium nitride dye to enable their next generation products needed for the rollout of 5G wireless networks.

"We plan to grow the LED Products business by expanding our product offering with new high-power and mid-power products that leverage our market leadership to increase our share at existing LED customers, while also opening new applications for our technology. In the high-power segment, we continue to innovate. We recently announced our next generation NX high-power LED platform that will power the next generation of Cree's lighting-class LEDs.

"The new platform combines our new Dmax LED chip with innovative light conversion and packaging technology, enabling our new Extreme Density, or XD, LED components. Even though we've just introduced the first XD component, we've already started a ramping up to Dmax LED chips, which are being used in certain existing components to provide a performance improvement and to reduce costs over the next year. ...

"To better leverage the Cree brand, channel and IP, we're also expanding our product offering with high-performance mid-power LED components from our recently announced joint venture with San'an. This partnership is designed to give our LED business yet another growth path with a high-performance mid-power product line to complement our market-leading high-power LEDs and serve our customers' mid-power LED requirements. ..."

Read the full transcript at:

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4065266-cree-cree-q3-2017-results-earnings-call-transcript?part=single





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