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LEDS > SEC Filings for LEDS > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan-2014All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for SEMILEDS CORP



Quarterly Report

Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Forward Looking Statements

This Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, or this Quarterly Report, contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Quarterly Report, including statements regarding the future results of operations of SemiLEDs Corporation, or "we," "our" or the "Company," and financial position, strategy and plans, and our expectations for future operations, are forward-looking statements. Any statements contained herein that are not statements of historical facts may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. The words "believe," "may," "should," "plan," "potential," "project," "will," "estimate," "continue," "anticipate," "design," "intend," "expect" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, strategy, short-term and long-term business operations and objectives, and financial needs. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, and actual results and the timing of certain events could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements as a result of many factors. These factors include, among other things,

Our ability to reduce our net losses and to restore our operations to profitability.

Our ability to successfully introduce new products that we can produce and that customers will purchase in such amounts as to be sufficiently profitable to cover the costs of developing and producing these products, as well as providing us additional net income from operations.

Our ability to effectively develop, maintain and expand our sales and distribution channels.

Our ability to successfully manage our operations in the face of the cyclicality, rapid technological change, rapid product obsolescence, declining average selling prices and wide fluctuations in supply and demand typically found in the LED market.

Competitive pressures from existing and new companies.

Our ability to grow our revenues generated from the sales of our products and to control our expenses.

Our ability to implement our cost reduction program effectively.

Loss of any of our key personnel, or our failure to attract, assimilate and retain other highly qualified personnel.

Intellectual property infringement or misappropriation claims by third parties against us or our customers, including our distributor customers.

The failure of LEDs to achieve widespread adoption in the general lighting market, or if alternative technologies gain market acceptance.

Our ability to improve our gross margins.

The loss of key suppliers or contract manufacturers.

The inability of contract manufacturers to produce products that satisfy our requirements.

Our ability to effectively expand or upgrade our production facilities or do so in a timely or cost-effective manner.

Difficulty in managing our future growth or in responding to a need to contract operations, and the associated changes to our operations.

Adverse development in those selected markets, including Taiwan, the United States, China and Russia, where our revenues are concentrated.

Our ability to develop and execute upon a new strategy to exploit the China market.

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The reduction or elimination of government investment in LED lighting or the elimination of, or changes in, policies in certain countries that encourage the use of LEDs over some traditional lighting technologies.

Our ability to cost-effectively produce LED chips using larger wafer sizes.

Our ability to implement our product innovation strategy effectively, particularly in view of the prohibition against our (and/or our assisting others in) making, using, importing, selling and/or offering to sell in the United States our accused products and/or any device that includes an accused product after October 1, 2012 as a result of the injunction agreed to in connection with the Cree Inc., or Cree, litigation.

Loss of customers.

Failure of our strategy of marketing and selling our products in jurisdictions with limited intellectual property enforcement regimes.

Lack of marketing and distribution success by our third-party distributors.

Our customers' ability to produce and sell products incorporating our LED products.

Our failure to adequately prevent disclosure of trade secrets and other proprietary information.

Ineffectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures and our internal control over financial reporting.

Our ability to profit from existing and future joint ventures, investments, acquisitions and other strategic alliances.

Impairment of goodwill, long-lived assets or investments;

Undetected defects in our products that harm our sales and reputation and adversely affect our manufacturing yields.

The availability of adequate and timely supply of electricity and water for our manufacturing facilities.

Our ability to comply with existing and future environmental laws and the cost of such compliance.

The non-compete provisions between us and Xurui Guangdian Co., Ltd., or China SemiLEDs, constraining our ability to grow in China, or actions by China SemiLEDs or the other shareholders of China SemiLEDs that are detrimental to us.

The ability of SemiLEDs Optoelectronics Co., Ltd., or Taiwan SemiLEDs, to make dividends and other payments to us.

Our ability to obtain necessary regulatory approvals to make further investments in Taiwan SemiLEDs.

Catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, floods, tornados, tsunamis, typhoons, pandemics, wars, terrorist activities and other similar events, particularly if these events occur at or near our operations, or the operations of our suppliers, contract manufacturers and customers.

The effect of the legal system in the People's Republic of China, or the PRC.

Labor shortages, strikes and other disturbances that affect our operations.

Deterioration in the relations between the PRC and Taiwan governments.

Fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar, the New Taiwan, or NT, dollar and other currencies in which our sales, raw materials and component purchases and capital expenditures are denominated.

Our ability to obtain additional equity capital or credit when necessary for our operations, the difficulty of which may increase if our common stock is delisted from The NASDAQ Stock Market.

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The effect of new disclosure requirements under the new provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act relating to "conflict minerals," which could increase our costs and limit the supply of certain metals used in our products and affect our reputation with customers and shareholders.

The impact on the trading price of our common stock if we are delisted for failure to meet the NASDAQ continued listing requirements if our stock trades below $1 per share.

The costs and other effects of pending legal proceedings, the ultimate outcome of which is uncertain.

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. We have not assumed any obligation to, and you should not expect us to, update or revise these statements because of new information, future events or otherwise.

For more information on the significant risks that could affect the outcome of these forward-looking statements, see Item 1A "Risk Factors" in Part I of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2013, or the 2013 Annual Report, and those contained in Part II, Item 1A of this Quarterly Report, and other information provided from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC.

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations is based upon and should be read in conjunction with the unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements and the notes and other information included elsewhere in this Quarterly Report, in our 2013 Annual Report, and in other filings with the SEC.

Company Overview

We develop, manufacture and sell LED chips and LED components. Our products are used primarily for general lighting applications, including street lights and commercial, industrial and residential lighting. Our LED chips may also be used in specialty industrial applications, such as ultraviolet, or UV, curing of polymers, LED light therapy in medical/cosmetic applications, counterfeit detection, LED lighting for horticulture applications, architectural lighting and entertainment lighting. Our core products are LED chips and LED components, but lighting products have also become an increasingly important part of our business.

Utilizing our patented and proprietary technology, our manufacturing process begins by growing upon the surface of a sapphire wafer, or substrate, several very thin separate semiconductive crystalline layers of gallium nitride, or GaN, a process known as epitaxial growth, on top of which a mirror-like reflective silver layer is then deposited. After the subsequent addition of a copper alloy layer and finally the removal of the sapphire substrate, we further process this multiple-layered material to create individual LED chips.

We sell blue, green and UV LED chips under our MvpLED brand to a customer base that is heavily concentrated in a few select markets, including Taiwan, the United States, China and Russia. We also sell our new "Enhanced Vertical," or EV, LED product series in blue, green and UV. We sell our LED chips to packagers or to distributors, who in turn sell to packagers. In addition, we package a portion of our LED chips into LED components, which we sell to distributors and end-customers in selected markets. Our lighting products customers consist primarily of original design manufacturers of lighting products and the end-users of lighting devices. We also contract other manufacturers to produce for our sale certain LED products, and for certain aspects of our product fabrication, assembly and packaging process, based on our design and technology requirements and under our quality control specifications and final inspection process.

We have developed advanced capabilities and proprietary know-how in:

reusing sapphire substrate in subsequent production runs;

optimizing our epitaxial growth processes to create layers that efficiently convert electrical current into light;

employing a copper alloy base manufacturing technology to improve our chip's thermal and electrical performance;

utilizing nanoscale surface engineering to improve usable light extraction; and

developing a LED structure that generally consists of multiple epitaxial layers which are vertically-stacked on top of and a copper alloy base.

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These technical capabilities enable us to produce LED chips that can provide efficacies of greater than 120 lumens per watt when packaged. We believe these capabilities and know-how also allow us to reduce our manufacturing costs and our dependence on sapphire, a costly raw material used in the production of sapphire-based LED devices. In addition, we believe our technological know-how and capabilities will help facilitate our migration to larger wafer sizes.

We were incorporated in the State of Delaware on January 4, 2005 and sold our first LED chips in November 2005. We are a holding company for various wholly and majority owned subsidiaries. Our most significant subsidiary is our wholly owned operating subsidiary, Taiwan SemiLEDs, where a substantial portion of our assets are held and located, where a substantial portion of our research, development, manufacturing, marketing and sales activities take place, and where most of our employees are based. As of November 30, 2013, we also owned an 87% interest in Ning Xiang Technology Co., Ltd., or Ning Xiang, which consisted of a 51% interest that we acquired in August 2011, an additional 15% interest that we acquired in April 2013, and an additional 21% interest that we acquired in November 2013. Ning Xiang is engaged in the design, manufacture and sale of lighting fixtures and systems.

We also have interests in unconsolidated joint ventures that we have accounted for as equity method investments and as such have not consolidated for financial reporting purposes. As of November 30, 2013, we owned a 50% interest in SILQ (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., or SILQ, a joint venture established in Malaysia to design, manufacture and sell lighting fixtures and systems. In January 2014, we participated in SILQ's capital increase and contributed an additional $76 thousand. Following this capital increase, our equity interest in SILQ was reduced to 49%. We also had an inactive joint venture, China SemiLEDs, in which we held a 49% equity interest. China SemiLEDs was originally significant to our China strategy, but we wrote down the investment to a carrying amount of zero at August 31, 2012.

Key Factors Affecting Our Financial Condition, Results of Operations and Business

The following are key factors that we believe affect our financial condition, results of operations and business:

Industry growth and demand for products and applications using LEDs. The overall adoption of LED lighting devices to replace traditional lighting sources is expected to influence the growth and demand for LED chips and impact our financial performance. We believe the potential market for LED lighting will continue to expand. LEDs for efficient generation of UV light are also starting to gain attention for various medical, germicidal and industrial applications. Since a substantial portion of our LED chips, LED components and our lighting products are used by end-users in general lighting applications and specialty industrial applications such as UV curing, medical/cosmetic, counterfeit detection, horticulture, architectural lighting and entertainment lighting, the adoption of LEDs into these applications will have a strong impact on the demand of LED chips generally and, as a result, for our LED chips, LED components and LED lighting products. Fluctuations in demand for LED lights products will also affect the results of Ning Xiang.

Average selling price of our products. The average selling price of our products may decline for a variety of factors, including prices charged by our competitors, the efficacy of our products, our cost basis, changes in our product mix, the size of the order and our relationship with the relevant customer, as well as general market and economic conditions. Competition in the markets for LED products is intense, and we expect that competition will continue to increase, thereby creating a highly aggressive pricing environment. For example, some of our competitors have in the past reduced their average selling prices, and the resulting competitive pricing pressures have caused us to similarly reduce our prices, accelerating the decline in our revenues and the gross margin of our products. When prices decline, we must also write down the value of our inventory. Furthermore, the average selling prices for our LED products have typically decreased over product life cycles. Therefore, our ability to continue to innovate and offer competitive products that meet our customers' specifications and pricing requirements, such as higher efficacy LED products at lower costs, will have a material influence on our ability to improve our revenues and product margins, although in the near term the introduction of such higher efficacy LED chips may further reduce the selling prices of our existing products or render them obsolete. Reduction in the average selling price of LED lights products will also affect the results of Ning Xiang.

Changes in our product mix. We anticipate that our gross margins will fluctuate from period to period as a result of the mix of products that we sell and the utilization of our manufacturing capacity in any given period, among other things. For example, in fiscal 2012, we placed greater emphasis on the sales of LED components rather than the sales of LED chip where we have been forced to cut prices on older inventory. In particular, we sold a significant volume of a category of lower-priced LED components designed to meet our customers' demand. While such a shift in product mix to lower-priced products lowered our average selling price, the significant sales volume helped to improve revenues and gross margin in fiscal 2012. We intend to continue to pursue opportunities for profitable growth in areas of business where we see the best opportunity for our new EV LED product series of LED chips (particularly the UV market) and continue to expand the lower-priced LED components as appropriate. However, as we expand and diversify our product offerings and with varying average selling prices, a change in the mix of products that we sell in any given period may increase volatility in our revenues and gross margin from period to period.

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Our ability to reduce cost to offset lower average prices. Competitors may reduce average selling prices faster than our ability to reduce costs, and competitive pricing pressures may accelerate the rate of decline of our average selling prices. To address increased pricing pressure, we have invested in the development of larger wafer sizes, in particular using 4" wafers, which we believe should lower our production costs. We have substantially converted our manufacturing of LED chips based on 4" wafer technology. We have also improved and increased our production yields to reduce the per-unit cost of production for our products. However, such cost savings currently have had limited impact on our gross profit, as we suffered from the underutilization of our manufacturing capacity, primarily for our LED chips, starting in the fourth quarter of our fiscal 2011 and continuing through the first quarter of our fiscal 2014, and must absorb a high level of fixed cost, such as depreciation. While we continue to focus on managing our costs and expenses, over the long term we expect to be required to invest substantially in LED development and production equipment if we are to grow.

Our ability to continue to innovate. As part of our growth strategy, we plan to continue to be innovative in product design, to deliver new products and to improve our manufacturing efficiencies. Our continued success depends on our ability to develop and introduce new, technologically advanced and lower cost products, such as more efficient, higher brightness LED chips. If we are unable to introduce new products that are commercially viable and meet rapidly evolving customer requirements or keep pace with evolving technological standards and market developments or are otherwise unable to execute our product innovation strategy effectively, we may not be able to take advantage of market opportunities as they arise, execute our business plan or be able to compete effectively. During the fourth quarter of our fiscal 2012, we introduced our new EV LED product series, capable of operating at a higher junction temperature and with higher thermal endurance, as well as our new ceramic LED component products, the C35 emitters, that incorporates the EV chip and also offers customers greater flexibility in making color choices. In June 2013, we expanded our UV LED product portfolio with the launch of mid- and high-power product series designed for industrial applications such as printing, coating, curing, signage and medical/cosmetic uses. We also broadened our LED components portfolio through an acquisition in July 2013. In November 2013, we announced the launch of our new compact multi-color LED component that integrates our vertical LED structure, white color chip and ceramic packaging technologies, which offers our customers easy color mixing and higher integration that simplifies the design of lighting fixtures and reduces the number of LED components used. Our near-term success will depend upon how attractive these products are to our customers versus competitors' offerings and our customers' willingness and promptness in qualifying our new products.

General economic conditions and geographic concentration. Many countries including the United States and the European Union members have instituted, or have announced plans to institute, government regulations and programs designed to encourage or mandate increased energy efficiency in lighting. These actions include in certain cases banning the sale after specified dates of certain forms of incandescent lighting, which are advancing the adoption of more energy efficient lighting solutions such as LEDs. The global financial crisis that began in late 2007 caused extreme disruption in the financial markets. Although the disruption in the financial markets moderated thereafter, the global financial markets continue to reflect uncertainty about a sustained economic recovery. When the global economy slows or a financial crisis occurs, consumer and government confidence declines, with levels of government grants and subsidies for LED adoption and consumer spending likely to be adversely impacted. Our revenues have been concentrated in a few select markets, including Taiwan, the United States, China and Russia. Given that we are operating in a rapidly changing industry, our sales in specific markets may fluctuate from quarter to quarter. Therefore, our financial results will be impacted by general economic and political conditions in such markets. For example, some of our customers in Russia have experienced temporary liquidity constraints as a result of the impact of the banking crisis in Cyprus in March 2013 on the Russian economy, which have led to reduced and/or delayed purchases of our products by these customers. In addition, we have historically derived a significant portion of our revenues from a limited number of customers. Some of our largest customers and what we produce/have produced for them have changed from quarter to quarter primarily as a result of the timing of discrete, large project-based purchases and broadening customer base, among other things. For the three months ended November 30, 2013, sales to our three largest customers, in the aggregate, accounted for 19% of our revenues.

Intellectual property issues. Competitors of ours and other third parties have in the past and will likely from time to time in the future allege that our products infringe on their intellectual property rights. Defending against any intellectual property infringement claims would likely result in costly litigation and ultimately may lead to our not being able to manufacture, use or sell products found to be infringing. In June 2012, we settled an intellectual property dispute involving Cree. We agreed to dismiss amended complaints filed against each other without prejudice. We agreed to the entry of a permanent injunction that was effective October 1, 2012 that precludes us from (and/or from assisting others in) making, using, importing, selling and/or offering to sell in the United States certain accused products and/or any device that includes such an accused product after that date and to payment of a settlement fee for past damages. All accused products sold before the date of settlement are released under this agreement and our customers and distributors are specifically released. All remaining claims between Cree and us were withdrawn without prejudice, with each retaining the right to assert them in the future. However, other third parties may also assert infringement claims against our customers with respect to our products, or our customers' products that incorporate our technologies or products. Any such legal action or the threat of legal action against us, or our customers, could impair such customers' continued demand for our products. This could prevent us from growing or even maintaining our revenues, or cause us to incur additional costs and expenses, and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

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Our ability to realize our strategic initiatives. We have grown our business in part through strategic alliances and acquisitions. For example, our China strategy was initially premised on continuing our growth in China through China SemiLEDs; however, the launch of China SemiLEDs was not successful. We now no longer view China SemiLEDs as the vehicle to drive our growth in China. As the world's second largest economy and one that is geographically close to our manufacturing operations, China continues to represent a key market for our products and we have been working towards formulating certain strategic alternatives to exploit the opportunities that it presents, including, but not limited to, developing and expanding our direct sales force and distribution channels through local third-party distributors. In addition, we continually evaluate and explore strategic opportunities as they arise, including product, technology, business or asset transactions, such as acquisitions or divestitures. For example, in July 2013, we acquired an LED components production line and related technology from certain third parties, and we believe this acquisition should allow us to expand our production capacity for LED components, and strengthen our product portfolio, technology and know-how related to LED components.

Recent Developments

Beginning in our fiscal 2014, in response to challenging business conditions and to improve our overall cost competitiveness and cash flow generation, we have initiated actions to accelerate operating cost reductions and improve operational efficiencies. As part of our continued cost reduction efforts, we recently initiated additional actions, which included the relocation and consolidation of our manufacturing operations at Sinwu, Taiwan, or Sinwu Facility, to other of our existing facilities. In connection with the closing and relocation of our Sinwu Facility, we plan to partially build out existing space in the building we own at Chu-Nan, Hsinchu Science Park. In accordance with the lease agreement with Luxxon Technology Corporation for our Sinwu Facility, we are required to provide a six-month written notice to terminate the lease. We expect to devote capital expenditures to expand our Chu-Nan facility and incur costs and expenses associated with these planned activities in the . . .

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