Monday, February 22, 2016

Seeking Alpha: Steady Progress Still Elusive For Ultratech

The past year wasn't a great one for the semiconductor equipment industry, and in fact Ultratech's (NASDAQ:UTEK) 2% rise over the last twelve months puts it on pretty high ground compared to rivals like Mattson (NASDAQ:MTSN) (down 30%), Rudolph (NYSE:RTEC) (down 7%), and Screen Holdings (OTC:DINRY) (down 2%), as well as other industry bellwethers like Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) and ASML (NASDAQ:ASML). That comes despite a disappointing run of performance that saw a 1% drop in full year-over-year revenue and two straight top line misses to end the year.

This remains what it has been for some time - an increasingly speculative story predicated on improving orders for the company's advanced packaging, laser processing, and wafer inspection tools. While Ultratech clearly dropped the ball with respect to laser processing at sub-20nm nodes (or perhaps it is more fair to say that Mattson stripped it away), there may be some early signs of improvement, as well as the opportunity to leverage follow-on orders at 28nm and above.

If Ultratech can build on its three core businesses in 2016 and start outperforming, the shares could certainly move into the mid-to-high $20s, but investors have to at least consider the risk that companies like Rudolph and SUSS MicroTec (SMHN.XE) will do to Ultratech in advanced packaging what Mattson did in thermal processing and that the company fails to regain momentum with its laser processing business.

Continue here:
Steady Progress Still Elusive For Ultratech

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