Veeco shares rise on order prospects

Veeco, based in Plainview, released its results on

Veeco, based in Plainview, released its results on April 23, 2013, after Wall Street closed, and shares rose about 7 percent in after-hours trading, to $34.50, as the company said it expects sales orders to increase in the coming months. (Credit: Handout)

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Technology manufacturer Veeco Instruments Inc., which for months had delayed publishing detailed earnings data as it undertakes an accounting review, released limited first-quarter results Monday showing sales orders had continued to decline, hitting their lowest point since 2009.

Nonetheless, investors appear to believe the company is poised to rebound. Veeco, based in Plainview, released its results after Wall Street closed, and shares rose about 7 percent in after-hours trading, to $34.50, as the company said it expects sales orders to increase in the coming months.

UPDATE: In early trading Tuesday shares were up $5.30 at $37.23.

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

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.

The partial results released Monday showed Veeco's sales orders 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.

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.

Mark Miller, an analyst who tracks Veeco for Noble Financial Capital Markets of Boca Raton, Fla., said it was "unparalleled" that the company would take nearly six months to fix accounting problems.

But he pointed out that it hasn't hurt Veeco's stock, which is up nearly 20 percent since the company announced the review.

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