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Veeco Instruments swings to a loss on charge, lower revenue

Mathew Levy, a mechanical engineer, holds a data

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

Veeco Instruments Inc. swung to a third-quarter net loss on sharply lower revenue and a $57.8 million pretax charge, the company said Tuesday.

The maker of tools used in manufacturing light-emitting diodes and computer hard drives posted revenue of $85.5 million versus $140.7 million in the year-earlier period.

In the quarter ended Sept. 30, the Plainview company reported a net loss of $69.6 million, or $1.78 per diluted share, versus net income of $5.3 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, in the prior year’s quarter.

Veeco chairman and chief executive John Peeler said the company is seeing “clear improvement” in the market for its LED products and that third-quarter revenue came in above the company’s range of $70 million to $85 million.

He said cost-reduction initiatives are expected to cut the company’s cash-flow break-even point to about $75 million in revenue.

Included in the cost cuts are reductions announced in October for research into atomic layer deposition, or ALD, a process used in making semiconductors and producing LEDs for television and computer displays.

Veeco, Long Island’s 15th-largest public company by 2015 sales, entered the ALD market through its September 2013 acquisition of Fremont, California-based Synos Technology Inc. for $70 million to $185 million, depending on performance milestones.

For the fourth quarter, Veeco forecast revenue of $85 million to $100 million and a net loss of $7 million to $13 million.

In after-hours trading Tuesday, Veeco shares gained 4 cents to $21.29. In the past 12 months, the shares are up almost 19 percent.

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