Veeco profits plunge after China sales lag

Veeco's Maxbright LED-making machine. The company said net

Veeco's Maxbright LED-making machine. The company said net income fell to $11 million during April, May and June, 2012. (Credit: Veeco Instruments Inc.)

Veeco Instruments Inc., a Plainview company that makes manufacturing equipment for LED lighting, said Monday its third-quarter profits dipped sharply, falling 82 percent, as it struggles to rebound from falling sales in China and elsewhere.

Veeco said it had $126.9 million in sales during July, August and September, down 53 percent from the same period last year. Net income fell to $9.4 million, or 24 cents per share.

"Given the overall challenges in the market, we delivered pretty good results this quarter," Veeco chairman and chief executive John R. Peeler said during a call with analysts.

The company's report, issued after the close of regular trading, fell short of analysts' expectations of $130.2 million in sales. Veeco shares were down 3.36 percent to $27.90 in after-hours trading.

Veeco expected sales to be down significantly this year after climbing to nearly $1 billion in 2011. That boom stemmed primarily from sales in China, where government subsidies caused LED manufactures to build aggressively. But the Chinese market for LED equipment became saturated, and demand dropped sharply.

Veeco anticipates revenue will surpass $500 million for 2012, Peeler said, and is likely to take "restructuring actions" in the fourth quarter.

The company has not significantly cut its research and develop budget, spending an estimated $95 million this year compared to $97 million in 2011.

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