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Veeco fourth-quarter loss narrows amid continuing weak demand

Mathew Levy, a mechanical engineer, holds a data

Mathew Levy, a mechanical engineer, holds a data wafer near the NEXUS IBE-420si ion beam etching system at Veeco Instruments Inc. in Plainview on Feb. 23, 2012. The machine is used to manipulate thin material for applications such as data storage. Credit: Chris Ware

Veeco Instruments Inc. Monday reported a narrower fourth-quarter net loss amid continuing weakness in demand for its equipment used to manufacture light-emitting diodes.

After the market close, the maker of equipment used by manufacturers of compound semiconductors, hard disk drives, computer displays and lighting posted a 6 percent decline in fourth quarter revenue to $106.5 million.

The Plainview company said it lost $9.8 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, compared with a loss of $56.9 million, or $1.44 per share, in the prior year’s fourth quarter.

“Entering 2016, we continue to face a weak macro-economic environment and challenging LED industry conditions,” chairman and chief executive John R. Peeler said in a statement.

The company said it expected a net loss of 52 to 62 cents per share in the first quarter of 2016 on revenue of $70 million to $80 million.

With demand expected to remain soft through the first half of 2016 for its metal organic chemical vapor deposition equipment, used to make LED lighting and displays, Veeco has been seeking to bolster its product lines in computer chip packaging and micro-electro-mechanical systems.

“We remain focused on positioning the company for long term growth,” Peeler said.

For all of 2015, Veeco posted a net loss of $32 million on revenue of $477 million.

Veeco stock closed down 1.5 percent to $19.09 on Monday and gyrated in after-hours trading.

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