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Plainview-based Veeco swings to $19M profit

Veeco mechanical engineer Mathew Levy holds a data

Veeco mechanical engineer Mathew Levy holds a data wafer at a plant in Plainview in 2012. Photo Credit: Chris Ware

Fueled by demand in the LED lighting and solar markets, Plainview-based Veeco Instruments Inc. Monday reported a 47 percent increase in first-quarter net sales compared with the 2013 period, to $90.8 million.

The maker of equipment used to manufacture light-emitting diodes, solar cells, computer hard drives and flexible organic LED displays posted net income of $19.2 million versus a loss of $10.1 million in the prior year's period. Diluted earnings per share were 48 cents compared with a loss of 26 cents a year earlier.

"Veeco's first-quarter top- and bottom-line performance improved meaningfully from the fourth quarter of last year," said John R. Peeler, chairman and chief executive. The revenue gain was "driven primarily by an increase in LED and solar revenue to $71 million."

The results, however, were bolstered by a one-time gain of $29 million from funds put aside for milestone payments related to the 2013 acquisition of Synos Technology Inc., based in Fremont, California.

The Plainview company forecast second-quarter revenue of $87 million to $97 million and a per-share loss of 46 cents to 36 cents. Veeco shares fell 1.60 percent in after-hours trading following the earnings report, to $36.15.

Veeco's metal organic chemical vapor deposition equipment business has been suffering from a glut of supply, but Peeler said demand at "fabs," the plants that use the machines, has been climbing.

In a research note Stifel analyst Patrick Ho said the results and company comments "support our view that a potential recovery could begin" in the second half of 2014.

In a conference call Peeler said that "an announcement is imminent" to name a replacement for chief financial officer Dave Glass, who said in December that he is retiring.

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