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Veeco shares jump after company says sales slump easing

Veeco Instruments Inc. reported Monday, April 22, 2013,

Veeco Instruments Inc. reported Monday, April 22, 2013, that it expects sales of its LED bulb-making equipment to improve in the next three months. (Credit: Handout, 2010)

Shares of Veeco Instruments Inc. rose sharply in early trading Tuesday after the Plainview-based technology manufacturer said its sales slump appeared to be waning.

Veeco's stock climbed 17 percent, to $37.79 per share, on news that the company expects sales orders for its equipment to manufacture LED lights to climb during April, May and June.

“We anticipate meaningfully higher bookings in the second quarter," Veeco chief executive John Peeler said during a call Monday night with analysts.

The expected increase in orders comes as the market for LED lights around the globe is expected to grow 35 percent in the next decade as homeowners and businesses look for cheaper and more energy efficient alternatives to traditional light bulbs.

The LED market, however, has been challenging as of late.

Veeco reported Monday that its second-quarter sales orders hit their lowest level since four years. Bookings were down 38 percent, to $70 million, during January, February and March, compared to the same period last year. Orders for the company's best-selling machine fell 47 percent, to $37 million.

Revenues at the company, which makes manufacturing equipment for LED lighting, have fallen precipitously in the last year after skyrocketing to nearly $1 billion in 2011. That boom stemmed primarily from sales in China, where government subsidies caused LED manufacturers to build aggressively. But the Chinese market for LED equipment became saturated, and demand has been falling since.

Veeco has not released a full earnings report since October, citing an accounting review it launched in November to determine whether the company recorded sales revenue at the proper time.

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