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Veeco Instruments swings to $1.1M profit as demand recovers

Veeco Instruments workers are pictured on Feb. 23,

Veeco Instruments workers are pictured on Feb. 23, 2012. Credit: Chris Ware

Veeco Instruments Inc. on Thursday reported that first quarter earnings swung to a profit amid a recovery in demand for its equipment, used to manufacture light-emitting diodes used in lighting and displays for TVs and computers.

Net income for the quarter ended March 31 rose to $1.1 million, or 3 cents per diluted share, from a loss of $15.5 million, or 40 cents per diluted share, in the 2016 period.

Revenue climbed 21 percent to $94.4 million.

“We are continuing to build backlog and see a healthy sales pipeline, which supports top line growth in the second half of 2017,” chairman and chief executive John R. Peel said in a statement.

After several years of weak demand from customers in the Far East, Veeco has been focusing on consolidation and cost-cutting. The Plainview company expects to complete that program in the third quarter, Peel said.

“We believe our consolidation efforts combined with sustained cost discipline will drive positive operating leverage, as revenues scale,” he said.

In 2016, Veeco announced that it was relocating about 65 jobs from New York to a facility in Somerset, New Jersey. Eighteen jobs were transferred from Plainview and the remainder from upstate Poughkeepsie and Kingston.

Peel said the acquisition of Ultratech Inc., a San Jose, California-based maker of lithography, laser-processing and inspection systems used to make semiconductors, is expected to close in late May. That $815 million cash and stock deal was announced in February and won clearance from the Federal Trade Commission.

The company forecast second-quarter revenue of $85 million to $100 million and earnings ranging from a 2-cent-per-share profit to a 14-cent-per-share loss. A pretax interest expense of about $5 million associated with convertible notes will weigh on earnings, the company said.

The company reported earnings after Thursday’s stock market close. In after-hours trading, Veeco shares edged down 15 cents to $33.25. Over the past 12 months, Veeco’s stock has climbed about 81 percent.

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