Cree Reports Record Quarterly Revenue for the Second Quarter of Fiscal Year 2009

Jan 20, 2009

DURHAM, N.C., JANUARY 20, 2009 – Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), a market leader in LED lighting, today announced revenue of $147.6 million for its second quarter of fiscal 2009, ended December 28, 2008. This represents a 24% increase compared to revenue of $119.0 million reported for the second fiscal quarter last year and a 5% increase compared to the fiscal first quarter of 2009. Revenue included $5.6 million in patent licensing fees which were not factored into previously announced targets. GAAP net income for the second quarter was $10.7 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, compared to net income of $6.6 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, for the second quarter of fiscal 2008. Net income included approximately $4.4 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, related to the patent licensing fees, as well as a franchise tax benefit, which was not factored into previously announced targets.

The remainder of this press release highlights the company’s financial results on both a GAAP and a non-GAAP basis. The GAAP results include certain costs, charges, gains and losses that are excluded from non-GAAP results. By publishing the non-GAAP measures, management intends to provide investors with additional information to further analyze the company's performance, core results and underlying trends. Cree’s management evaluates results and makes operating decisions using both GAAP and non-GAAP measures included in this press release. Non-GAAP results are not prepared in accordance with GAAP, and non-GAAP information should be considered a supplement to, and not a substitute for, financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP. Investors and potential investors are encouraged to review the reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures to their most directly comparable GAAP measures attached to this press release.

GAAP EPS of $0.12 per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2009 includes expenses totaling $7.1 million, net of tax, or $0.08 per diluted share related to amortization of acquired intangibles and stock-based compensation expense. On a non-GAAP basis, adjusted to exclude these items, net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2009 was $17.8 million, or $0.20 per diluted share. On a non-GAAP basis, adjusted to exclude comparable items, net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2008 was $12.2 million, or $0.14 per diluted share.

“Cree delivered excellent financial results again despite challenging economic conditions, driven by strength in LED product sales for lighting applications,” stated Chuck Swoboda, Cree chairman and CEO. “In the third quarter of fiscal 2009, we expect that lower demand for our products in consumer, mobile and automotive applications will be partially offset by growth in LED sales for commercial lighting applications. As we look ahead to calendar 2009, we are targeting that LED lighting adoption will continue to gain momentum as product availability increases and recognition of the benefits grows from new installations like the Federal Reserve and the planned Pentagon renovation.”

Recent Business Highlights:
* Announced volume availability of the LR24, a recessed LED luminaire that offers high-quality, energy-efficient light for the largest commercial lighting market, suspended-ceiling applications traditionally addressed by linear fluorescents. The LR24 has already been installed at the U.S. Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C., as part of their ongoing energy-efficiency program, and the Pentagon plans to install 4,200 of the luminaires as part of a major renovation currently underway.

* Announced the high-volume availability of XLamp XP-E LEDs with output up to 122 lumens, the highest commercially available minimum flux for a single-die LED, at 350 mA, in the industry today. The volume availability of these XLamp LEDs is aimed at further stimulating the LED lighting market, driving applications in outdoor and indoor general illumination as well as portable and retail display lighting.

* Achieved industry-best reported R&D results of 161 lumens per watt for a white power LED. These results demonstrate Cree’s continued commitment to deliver industry-leading performance through a constant focus on innovation and R&D.

* Entered into a patent license agreement granting Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) an exclusive license (subject to certain exceptions) to manufacture and sell freestanding GaN substrates, with Cree to receive over the life of the agreement a combination of guaranteed payments and royalties on the sale of GaN substrates.

* Agreed with Bridgelux, Inc. to settle the parties’ patent infringement litigation and to dismiss all claims and counterclaims in the suits. As part of the settlement, Cree granted Bridgelux a license to the Cree and Boston University patents at issue in the litigation, and Bridgelux agreed to pay a license fee and royalties. In addition, Bridgelux and Cree have entered into a supply agreement under which Cree will become a significant supplier to Bridgelux.

* Welcomed Indian Wells, California, to the LED City® Program. The city has replaced much of the lighting in City Hall, with all circular recessed lighting converted to the Cree LR6 LED light, reducing electricity consumption by 80%. The city plans to evaluate LED lighting for other municipal lighting applications to further increase energy savings.

* Welcomed Notre Dame, Madison Area Technical College, and the University of California, Davis to the LED University™ Program. Notre Dame is implementing four pilot installations to evaluate the feasibility of LED lighting across the campus and is already realizing energy savings of 81% compared to incandescent lighting in the Hesburgh Library.

Q2 2009 Financial Metrics:
* GAAP gross margin was 38% of revenue compared to 35% in Q2 of fiscal 2008, and non-GAAP gross margin was 39% compared to 36% in Q2 of fiscal 2008. Q2 gross margin included approximately 200 basis points of benefit related to the MCC and Bridgelux license agreements.

* Accounts receivable increased $5.1 million from Q1 of fiscal 2009 to $108.6 million, resulting in days sales outstanding of 66, the same as Q1 of fiscal 2009.

* Inventory decreased $0.4 million from Q1 of fiscal 2009 to $78.8 million and represents 78 days of inventory, the same as Q1 of fiscal 2009.

* Cash and investments increased $26.5 million to $365.5 million, with cash flow from operations of $40.7 million and free cash flow (cash flow from operations less capital expenditures) of $23.2 million.

Business Outlook:
Current uncertainty in global economic conditions makes it particularly difficult to predict demand and makes it more likely that Cree’s actual results could differ materially from expectations. For its third quarter of fiscal 2009 ending March 29, 2009, Cree targets revenue in a range of $128 million to $135 million with GAAP earnings of $0.02 to $0.05 per diluted share and non-GAAP earnings of $0.10 to $0.13 per diluted share, based on an estimated 89 million diluted weighted average shares. Targeted non-GAAP earnings exclude expenses related to the amortization of acquired intangibles of $0.03 per diluted share and stock-based compensation expense of $0.05 per diluted share.

Cree will host a conference call at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time today to review the highlights of the fiscal second quarter 2009 results and the fiscal third quarter 2009 business outlook, including significant factors and assumptions underlying the targets noted above. The conference call will be available to the public through a live audio web broadcast via the Internet. Log on to Cree’s website at and go to “Investor Relations — Overview” for webcast details. The call will be archived and available on the website through February 3, 2009.

Supplemental financial information, including the non-GAAP reconciliation attached to this press release, is available in the “Investor Relations” section of Cree’s website, under “Financial Metrics”, “Quarter ending December 28, 2008,” at

About Cree, Inc.
Cree is leading the LED lighting revolution and setting the stage to obsolete the incandescent light bulb through the use of energy-efficient, environmentally friendly LED lighting. Cree is a market-leading innovator of lighting-class LEDs, LED lighting solutions, and semiconductor solutions for wireless and power applications.

Cree’s product families include recessed LED down lights, lighting-class power LEDs, high-brightness LEDs, blue and green LED chips, power-switching devices and radio-frequency/wireless devices. Cree solutions are driving improvements in applications such as general illumination, backlighting, electronic signs and signals, variable-speed motors, and wireless communications.

For additional product and company information, please refer to

The schedules attached to this release are an integral part of the release. This press release contains forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown, that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated. Actual results, including with respect to our targets and prospects, could differ materially due to a number of factors, including current uncertainty in global economic conditions that could negatively affect product demand, collectability of receivables and other related matters as consumers and businesses may defer purchases or payments, or default on payments, in response to tighter credit and negative financial news; our ability to complete development and commercialization of products under development, such as our pipeline of brighter LED chips, LED components and LED lighting retrofit solutions; our ability to lower costs; increasing price competition in key markets; the risk that, due to the complexity of our manufacturing processes and transition of production to larger wafers, we may experience production delays that preclude us from shipping sufficient quantities to meet customer orders or that result in higher production costs and lower margins; risks associated with the ramp-up of our production for our new products, as well as production at our Huizhou facility and subcontractors; risks resulting from the concentration of our business among few customers, including the risk that customers may reduce or cancel orders or fail to honor purchase commitments; the rapid development of new technology and competing products that may impair demand or render our products obsolete; the potential lack of customer acceptance for our products; risks associated with our recent acquisitions; risks associated with ongoing litigation; and other factors discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including our report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 29, 2008, and subsequent reports filed with the SEC. Except as required under the U.S. federal securities laws and the rules and regulations of the SEC, Cree disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements after the date of this release, whether as a result of new information, future events, developments, changes in assumptions or otherwise.

Cree, the Cree logo, XLamp and LED City are registered trademarks, and LED University is a trademark of Cree, Inc.

Raiford Garrabrant
Cree, Inc.
Director, Investor Relations
Ph: 919-287-7895
Fax: 919-313-5615

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