(By Balachander) Cree Inc. (NASDAQ:CREE) shares jumped as much as 10 percent in early trade on Wednesday after the maker of LED diodes posted a jump in first-quarter earnings on double-digit growth in revenue and margin improvement.
On a non-GAAP basis, earnings per share (EPS) increased 8 percent to 27 cents, beating market expectations by a penny. GAAP earnings climbed 26 percent to $16.1 million.
Revenue grew 17 percent to $269 million, versus consensus estimate for a growth of 18.2 percent. Revenue from LED Products fell 4.7 percent, while Lighting Products revenue more than doubled.
Gross margin improved to 37.5 percent from 37.4 percent on a non-GAAP basis, while operating margin shrank to 11.9 percent from 12.2 percent. Sequentially, gross margin expanded 200 basis points on a GAAP basis.
Total operating expenses increased about 17 percent.
Looking ahead for the second quarter, Cree forecasts EPS in the range of 27 cents to 31 cents, while analysts' expect 30 cents. Revenue is projected to be between $320 million and $340 million, versus Wall Street projections of $333.6 million.
The company forecasts non-GAAP gross margin of 38.5 percent for the three months ending December.
CREE shares, which have been trading in the 52-week range of $20.25 to $44.83, rose $2.38 to trade at $28.57 on Wednesday.