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Cree Trips Over the Bottom Line

Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ: CREE) released its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday after the markets closed. The company had a net loss of $0.42 per share on $382 million in revenue versus Thomson Reuters consensus estimates that call for a net loss of $0.04 per share on $378.92 million in revenue. The same period from the previous year had $ 0.42 in EPS on $436.29 million in revenue.

The company gave guidance for the fiscal first quarter: it expects EPS to be in the range of $0.18 to $0.23 and revenue in the range of $410 to $430 million. There are consensus estimates of $0.20 in EPS on $418.51 million in revenue for the fiscal first quarter.

During this quarter, the company completed the previously announced $550 million share buyback program, and announced that its board of directors approved a $500 million stock buyback authorization for fiscal year 2016.

Cree acquired APEI (Arkansas Power Electronics International, Inc.), a global leader in power modules and power electronics applications. This acquisition enables Cree’s Power and RF business to extend its leadership position and help to accelerate the market for high-performance, best-in-class SiC power modules.

Chuck Swoboda, Chairman and CEO of Cree, commented on earnings:

Fiscal 2015 was a year of good progress in our Lighting and Power and RF businesses, mixed with challenges in the LED industry. The actions we took in Q4 to restructure our LED business position us for solid revenue growth and margin expansion in fiscal 2016, driven by the strength of our commercial lighting business.

Cash and investments decreased by $69 million from the third fiscal quarter to $713 million. The same period from the previous year had cash and investments totaling $1.16 billion. Cash from operations was $88 million and free cash flow was $35 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015.

Shares of Cree closed Tuesday down 2.5% at $25.20. Following the release of the earnings report, shares were down another 1.8% to $24.75. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $29.38 and a 52-week trading range of $23.63 to $50.57.

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By Chris Lange