Cree company profile

Posted March 3, 2011

From family spats and up-and-down stock movement to turning the “green” movement on with blue lights, Cree has made its mark on the world and certainly is a Tarheel Titan worth recognizing.

Cree, Inc. is a market-leading innovator and manufacturer of semiconductors that enhance the value of LED solid-state lighting, power, and communications products by significantly increasing their energy performance.

Key to Cree’s market advantage is expertise in silicon carbide (SiC) with gallium nitride (GaN) to deliver chips and packaged devices that can handle more power in a smaller space while producing less heat than other available technologies, materials, and products. The company holds 333 U.S. patents as well as several other foreign patents.

Cree drives increased “Return on Energy” solutions into multiple applications including alternatives in brighter and more-tunable LED light for general illumination, backlighting for more-vivid displays, optimized power management, and more-effective wireless infrastructures.

Cree’s product families include blue and green LED chips, lighting LEDs, LEDs for backlighting, power-switching devices and radio-frequency/wireless devices. Cree is leading the LED lighting revolution and making energy-wasting traditional lighting technologies obsolete through the use of energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly LED lighting.

Cree has an experienced engineering team, which has enabled it to create a product line based on the latest technology.

Most of the manufacturing and testing for their products is done at its Durham facility, but it also operates an R&D facility the Santa Barbara Technology Center in Goleta, Calif.

It is one of two companies (Infineon being the other) that first started using Silicon Carbide on Gallium Nitride substrates. Although Cree faces strong competition in the current market environment, most of the competing products are based on the older Silicon and Gallium Arsenide materials. Basically, most see the company as technologically ahead of the others.


Charles Swoboda has served as Cree’s chief executive officer since June 2001, as a member of the Board of Directors since October 2000 and as president since January 1999.He was chief operating officer of the company from 1997 to 2001 and vice president of operations from 1997 to 1999. He had served as operations manager from 1996 to 1997, as general manager of Cree’s former subsidiary, Real Color Displays, from 1994 to 1996, and as LED product manager from 1993 to 1994. He was previously employed by Hewlett-Packard and holds a degree from Marquette University.

Swoboda took the leadership role over from co-found Neal Hunter who went on to pursue other LED opportunities. This year, Swoboda said he sees a lot of opportunity out there right now in the LED markeplace.

“I see lots of innovation required to make it happen, but I think we're in the early stages of this thing, “he noted to stockholders in January. “I think as long as we keep driving innovation that makes our customers' products better, that makes their value proposition better, then we should be in a good position to benefit as the market grows, and frankly make it happen."

Other Key Executives:

John W. Palmour, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Advanced Devices

Mark McClear, Director of Business Development, Solid State Lighting


Name: Cree, Inc.

Ownership: Publicly Owned (NASDAQ: CREE)


Headquarters: Durham, N.C.

Employees: 4,298 (more than 1,700 in Durham County)

Key Products and Services

• LED Chips
• LED Components
• LED Modules
• LED Lighting
• Power devices and supplies
• RF microwave transistor devices
• Semiconductor materials

Revenues & Profitability

On Jan. 18, Cree reported 2nd quarter 2011 earnings of $0.55 per share. This result missed the $0.58 consensus expectations of analysts following the company and beat last year's 2nd quarter results by 44.74 percent.

The next confirmed earnings announcement is expected on April 19. CREE's PE ratio is among the highest of any stock in the semiconductors industry, and signals that investors have high hopes for this company's future business prospects.

Additionally, during the past year, earnings growth has outpaced its historical five year growth rate. According to regulatory filings, the total annual revenue and gross profit was $867 million in June 2010.

High & Low

Cree's 52-week high was $83.38 per share on April 15, 2010. The 52-week low was $47.30 on Sept. 10, 2010.

Key customers

Cree customers range from innovative lighting fixtures makers to defense-related federal agencies and the Pentagon.

The company works with Walmart to University of Central Florida, to the City of Tirupati in India to the City of Durham.


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