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   Technology StocksCree Inc.

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From: slacker7119/3/2018 10:36:46 PM
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Wafer thinning needed to boost silicon power devices performance

Julian Ho, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Monday 3 September 2018

Wafer thinning technology is expected to play an increasingly crucial role in Taiwan's power discrete device supply chain, as the technology can work well to lower resistance and boost performance of traditional silicon discrete devices to help makers tap into the market for medium to high-power discrete devices without changing their chip designs and packaging operations, according to industry sources.

Most international IDMs including Germany's Infineon and Japan's Rohm have developed a solid presence in the space for high-power SiC (silicon carbide) devices such as SiC Schottky diode, SiC MOSFET, and SiC power modules for automotive electrics, subway and high-speed rail systems. Taiwan's Hestia Power and Episil Technologies have also ranked among the world's top-5 suppliers of SiC components, the sources said.

Wide band-gap is deemed the most critical competitive advantage of the third-generation semiconductor including SiC and GaN, able to effectively lower on-resistance on slim devices for automotive applications.

Nevertheless, Taiwan diode makers and international IDMs have noted that SiC device prices are 8-10 times higher than traditional silicon devices, significantly undermining the willingness of downstream customers to incorporate SiC devices.

Boosting cost competitiveness for SiC, GaN

Most Taiwan makers still have a long way to boost their cost competitiveness for SiC and GaN devices while also having to actively catch up with international IDMs in related technologies and yield rates, industry sources said.

Accordingly, in the next few years, wafer thinning service for traditional silicon devices will be badly needed by Taiwan makers or even international IDMs to turn out higher-power silicon-based discrete devices with strong on-resistance reduction performance.

At the moment, the sources noted, Taiwan's wafer thinning service providers Phoenix Silicon International (PSI) and Integrated Service Technology (iST) are moving to score achievements in the sector. PSI is actively seeking orders from Europe IDMs for thinning wafers for the production of automotive-use MOSFET devices, and iST has also invested heavily in upgrading its wafer thinning capability, with its yield rate for the service already hitting a high of 99.5%.

The sources said that Taiwan's power discrete devices supply chains including diode and MOSFET makers, wafer foundry houses and backend packagers will still find it a big challenge to develop third-generation SiC or GaN devices for volume production in the short term. Therefore it would be a crucial option for them to cooperate with wafer thinning service providers to improve the performance of their traditional silicon-based power discrete devices for high-end applications.

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From: Lynn9/15/2018 3:13:55 AM
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3 Surprising Stocks That Could Benefit From Marijuana's Legalization These behind-the-scenes companies could be seeing green right along with the cannabis industry.

Sean Williams
( TMFUltraLong)
Sep 13, 2018 at 8:51AM

There are plenty of intriguing investment opportunities on Wall Street, but none has been more smoking hot of late than marijuana stocks. In just under five weeks (on Oct. 17), recreational marijuana will become legal in Canada, marking the first time in history an industrialized nation had given the green light to adult-use weed. And with this legalization comes the potential for billions of dollars in added annual revenue.

As you might imagine, pot stocks directly involved in the physical cannabis supply chain -- i.e., growers, processors, distributors, and retailers -- have been the likeliest to see their share prices soar. Investors with the foresight (and luck) to hang onto marijuana stocks since prior to 2016 have probably made a quadruple-digit return on their investment.

Image source: Getty Images.

These behind-the-scenes stocks should benefit from the legalization of cannabis But the thing is, the trickle-down effect of the cannabis industry means there will be plenty of winners that aren't exactly in plain view. There's an entire ancillary industry in the background helping to fuel the success of the weed industry, and many of these companies could see a boost in their sales and/or profits as a result of the success of the legal pot industry.

Some of these companies you've probably heard of, like Scotts Miracle-Gro, which is predominantly a lawn and garden care company but also has a subsidiary focused on hydroponics, lighting, soil, and nutrient solutions for the medical cannabis industry. There's also Kush Bottles, which is a leading marketing and packaging company that'll ensure producers stay compliant with local, state, or federal marijuana regulations.

However, there are other ancillary players that are perhaps even more in the weeds, so to speak. Here are three of them.

[snip Brinks]

Cree Marijuana stock investors might also see the light of day by dipping their toes in the water with LED and lighting system company Cree ( NASDAQ:CREE).

You're probably most familiar with Cree for making those long-lasting LED lights that you use in or outside your house. They're designed to be substantially more energy efficient than previous generations of bulbs, using less electricity, as well as lasting considerably longer. But what you may not realize is that the marijuana industry has its eyes on Cree's LED bulbs as well.

You see, high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights have been a mainstay in the cannabis industry for years. They deliver very predictable yields, and growers fully understand what to expect with regard to costs when using them. But they also come with two downsides. First, HPS lights tend to use a lot of electricity since they're an older-generation bulb. The other issue is that HPS bulbs generate a lot of heat, which means even more need for expensive, electricity-sucking cooling systems to keep the plant-growing environment at an optimal temperature.

Thus enters Cree. Its LED lights produce considerably less heat, resulting in lower cooling system needs, and they use far less electricity. The downside with LED lights is their higher upfront cost and somewhat unknown crop yield. When marijuana was legal only in a select few states and countries, and access to capital was challenging, LEDs weren't an option for many small-scale pot businesses. But with the industry now budding and capital becoming easier to access, Cree's LED lights are within reach. It could be a sneaky marijuana play moving forward.

[snip Shopify to end]

I originally found a link to this article on another thread. All credit goes to JakeStraw for finding it:
Message 31787864

It is my understanding from a conversation with friends in Southern New England a few months ago that some states permit or will, in the near future, permit home growing marijuana _indoors_ if a person has a state issued medical marijuana card. That's a lot of lights! If there are marijuana seed and equipment growing conventions once medical use is legalized, I do hope CREE is aggressive pushing their lights. Even if the lighting is expensive up-front, I do think people who qualify to get the card will save a bundle over buying medical marijuana at a state approved dispensary/store/whatever.

Hopefully, once marijuana is medically legalized for humans, it's use is made legal for pets. I read an article calling for this in the NYT last winter--marijuana can really help dogs suffering from arthritis and a number of other conditions. My pet does not have arthritis (TG), but I would definitely grow marijuana indoors if he would benefit from it [he has a few medical conditions, one of which periodically causes him to stop eating, sigh] and my state permits indoor growing. I would only buy CREE lights.

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From: slacker7119/27/2018 12:50:46 PM
   of 10481
Sanan Optoelectronics LED plant hit by explosion

Siu Han, Taipei; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES Thursday 27 September 2018 0 Toggle Dropdown
An explosion hit Sanan Optoelectronics' AlGaInP LED epitaxial wafer and chip plant in Tianjin, northern China, in mid-September, according to industry sources.

Since AlGaInP LED chips are used to make fine-pitch displays which sees robust demand currently and restoration of the China-based firm's production lines at the factory will take one to two months, the market may see short-term tight supply of such chips, the sources said.

China-based AlGaInP LED chip makers HC SemiTek and Xiamen Changelight and Taiwan-based Epistar may receive orders shifted from Sanan due to the accident, the sources indicated.

Sanan has over 400 MOCVD sets, and 50-60 of them are used to produce AlGaInP LED epitaxial wafers and chips, which account for 15% of the firm's consolidated revenues, the sources noted.

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To: slacker711 who wrote (9880)9/27/2018 12:51:46 PM
From: slacker711
   of 10481
Trade war set to hit China LED lighting makers

Siu Han, Taipei; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES Thursday 27 September 2018 0 Toggle Dropdown
The latest US plan to impose 25% of tariffs on China-made products beginning January 1, 2019 is expected to drive LED lighting vendors to reduce orders for China-based makers and shift some to Taiwan.

Over 30 LED lighting product items are included in the latest tariff list, and they account for nearly 80% of the value of China's lighting product exports to the US. As LED light bulbs and tubes are large-volume standardized products, vendors are expected to bear the additional tariffs to keep prices unchanged or slightly higher in the US market. But embedded and customized lighting products are much more expensive than light bulbs and tubes, and vendors will hike prices to reflect the tariff or seek suppliers outside China.

China-based makers have disclosed that they have received many rush orders with delivery by year-end 2018 to avoid the 25% tariffs.

The US announced its first-round of duties on China-made products in April 2018, covering only a few LED lighting product items. But China makers' exports to the US have since decreased much more than originally estimated as clients turned conservative.

Taiwan-based LED lighting makers, as their production cost is currently 10-15% higher than China-based competitors, may see clients shift orders from China. Taiwan-based Unity Opto Technology has already received inquiries from US-based vendors, industry sources have disclosed.

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From: slacker71110/9/2018 8:33:40 AM
   of 10481
Cree rating change at JPMorgan Cree upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan. JPMorgan analyst Paul Coster upgraded Cree to Neutral with an unchanged price target of $35. The analyst sees a more balanced risk/reward following the recent underperformance of the shares. He cites valuation for the upgrade to Neutral.

Read more at:

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From: slacker71110/16/2018 10:07:34 AM
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Cree reports after the close today.

Nice outperformance so far today. I have a feeling trade issues will be front and center on the call. Hopefully, Cree has plans in place to mitigate the impact of the tariffs as much as possible.


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From: slacker71110/16/2018 4:06:50 PM
   of 10481
Cree Reports Financial Results for the First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2019
Tue October 16, 2018 4:01 PM|Business Wire|About: CREE
Q1: 10-06-18 Earnings Summary
Transcript News
EPS of $0.22 beats by $0.10 Revenue of $408.27M (+ 13.3% Y/Y) beats by $0.98M
DURHAM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cree, Inc. (CREE) today announced financial results for its first quarter of fiscal 2019, ended September 23, 2018. Revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 was $408 million, which represents a 13% increase compared to revenue of $360 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2018. GAAP net loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 was $11 million, or $0.11 per diluted share. This compares to a GAAP net loss of $20 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2018. On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 was $22 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, compared to non-GAAP net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 of $4 million, or $0.04 per diluted share.

“Fiscal year 2019 is off to a strong start, with first quarter non-GAAP earnings per share that exceeded the top end of our target range driven by another quarter of robust growth in Wolfspeed combined with strong gross margin improvement in LED Products and Lighting," stated Gregg Lowe, Cree CEO. "This is an excellent result given the headwinds facing the businesses related to tariffs and global trade tensions. While these headwinds may persist for some time, we remain optimistic about the opportunity to increase shareholder value over the long term by executing our strategic plan.”

Business Outlook:

For its second quarter of fiscal 2019 ending December 30, 2018, Cree targets revenue in a range of $398 million to $418 million. GAAP net loss is targeted at $5 million to $10 million, or $0.05 to $0.10 per diluted share. Non-GAAP net income is targeted to be in a range of $15 million to $19 million, or $0.15 to $0.19 earnings per diluted share. Targeted non-GAAP income excludes $25 million of expenses, net of tax, related to stock-based compensation expense, the amortization or impairment of acquisition-related intangibles and interest accretion on our convertible notes' issue costs and fair value adjustments. The GAAP and non-GAAP targets do not include any estimated change in the fair value of Cree’s Lextar investment.

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From: slacker71110/16/2018 4:12:02 PM
   of 10481
Cree, Inc. Announces Long-Term Silicon Carbide Wafer Supply Agreement with a Leading Global Semiconductor Company
OCTOBER 16, 2018
DURHAM, N.C. -- Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE) announces that it signed a strategic long-term agreement to produce and supply its Wolfspeed® silicon carbide wafers to one of the world’s leading power device companies. The agreement, valued at more than $85 million, governs Cree’s supply of advanced 150 mm silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers during this period of extraordinary growth and demand for silicon carbide power devices.

“Cree is committed to increasing and accelerating the adoption of silicon carbide-based solutions throughout the semiconductor industry. This customer’s importance to the power device industry is well known, so partnering with a leading power semiconductor company such as this is another big step in that commitment,” said Gregg Lowe, CEO of Cree. “We are extremely pleased to help drive adoption of silicon carbide in even more applications. As the world leader in silicon carbide, Cree is continuing to expand capacity to meet market demands with our industry-leading wafer technology to help achieve a new, more efficient future.”

Wolfspeed, A Cree Company, is the global leader in the manufacture of silicon carbide wafers and epitaxial wafers. The supply agreement, to be fulfilled through a Cree distributor, enables silicon carbide applications in broad markets such as renewable energy and storage, electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, industrial power supplies, traction and variable speed drives.

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From: slacker71110/17/2018 9:49:31 AM
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Random thoughts from the earnings report.

- The tariffs are having a substantial impact on the LED and lighting businesses. 3 cents and 75 basis of gross margin during the December quarter and another 5 cents in the March quarter. There is also a lag between the start of tariffs and their impact so I am not sure that 5 cents will be the maximum as the current 10% tariffs are supposed to go to 25% in January and there could be another round on the rest of Chinese imports.

- Wolfspeed continues to perform well. They had 16% sequential growth vs. the target of 13%. The doubling of capacity was completed during the September quarter which was a quarter ahead of plan. They are targeting another doubling of capacity over the next 24 months. Expect another 5% sequential growth in the December quarter.

- They are competing for power design wins worth over $1 billion. It sounded like most of that was in the EV sector.

- Lighting gross margins continue to improve with a 2.9% sequential improvement. They are targeting further improvement in Q2 and said that a "normal" lighting business should have GM's 5 to 7 percent higher than they were in Q1.

- LED gross margins were better than expected on better ASP's and factory execution. It seems to me that the strength in Wolfspeed is allowing them to pick their spots in the LED business. The capacity is fungible between the two businesses and Wolfspeed has higher gross margins.

- Share count increased by roughly 1% sequentially and 4.2% YoY. This is insane and will transfer much of the value that Cree will create from shareholders to insiders.


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To: slacker711 who wrote (9886)10/19/2018 4:38:48 PM
From: Lou Weed
   of 10481
Nice summary Slacker.....

If they could just jettison the Lighting division we'd be a lot better off ;-)


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