SemiLEDs replaces president, adds sales exec

September 6, 2012 – Taiwan-based SemiLEDs (NASDAQ:LEDS), a developer and manufacturer of light-emitting diode (LED) chips and LED components, says it has replaced two top execs, weeks after posting another quarter of weak financials and a patent litigation settlement that restricts its product sales in the US.

Anh Chuong Tran, who has served as company president, COO, and director, has transitioned to the role of chief scientist, where he will focus on SemiLEDs’ technology and product development efforts. Company chairman/CEO Trung T. Doan will add the role of president to his duties. Also, SemiLEDs has hired Ilkan Cokgor as EVP of sales and marketing, joining from Everlight Electronics where he was VP of global marketing. Cokgor has a track record in LEDs and establishing sales and marketing channels, noted Doan.

SemiLEDs had a mixed bag in its most recent financial results (fiscal 3Q12, ending in May). Sales increased more than 60% from a year ago to $9.2M, but losses doubled to -$10M with gross margins swinging to -11% and an eye-popping -87% operating margin. That’s only slightly worse than the -9% GMs and and -73% OMs it reported in the previous quarter.

In late June SemiLEDs agreed to settle a patent dispute with Cree over LED technologies, resulting in a one-time payment and an injunction starting Oct. 1 preventing sales of the company’s blue, green, and ultraviolet (UV) LED chips under the MvpLED brand in the US. As an alternative, SemiLEDs is promoting an "Enhanced Vertical" LED technology, which combines its vertical LED chip architecture with a proprietary metal alloy substrate.

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