Rubicon's Q4 results up 11 percent on Q3
Rubicon Technology, a provider of sapphire substrates and products to the LED, semiconductor, and optical industries, last week reported financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2014.
The company reported Q4 revenue of $8.9 million, an eleven percent increase over prior quarter revenue of $8.0 million. Demand for the company's two-inch sapphire cores, primarily used in the mobile device market and the China LED market, increased considerably in the period but was offset in part by lower revenue from four-inch cores sales.
Four-inch material is used almost exclusively in the LED market and fourth quarter demand was impacted by seasonality in the backlighting segment of the LED market. Revenue from 4 to 8 inch patterned sapphire substrates (PSS) and revenue from optical products also increased sequentially.
In addition to reporting fourth quarter results, the company provided information on key objectives for 2015. Those objectives include aggressively pursuing the potential of its PSS product, targeting high margin optical applications and driving down product costs. William Weissman, Rubicon's CEO, commented: "We are taking action to position Rubicon to drive strong margins when the market strengthens and also ensure that we are cash flow positive during downturns in the market."
While sapphire prices increased in the first half of 2014, pricing in the back half of the year was driven lower by fluctuations in demand and excess inventory in the supply chain. More recently, pricing has come under further pressure due to the significant weakening of the Russian ruble and Japanese yen.
Commenting on the outlook for the first quarter of 2015, Weissman said: "There remains enormous potential for sapphire products with the growing adoption of LED lighting and use of sapphire in mobile devices and other optical applications. However, the sapphire market remains challenging at the moment with continued pricing pressure and fluctuations in demand.
"We expect to sell higher volumes and to begin driving down product costs in the first quarter but price reductions will minimise the impact. As a result, we expect first quarter 2015 results to be similar to the previous quarter. We expect that actions we are taking now will result in a significant improvement in both revenue and earnings by the end of the year," he added.