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GT Advanced Technologies: A Stock To Watch, Just Ask Apple

By Wall Street Daily (Louis Basenese)Stock MarketsFeb 12, 2014 06:16AM ET
GT Advanced Technologies: A Stock To Watch, Just Ask Apple
By Wall Street Daily (Louis Basenese)   |  Feb 12, 2014 06:16AM ET
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Famous American writer, Gore Vidal, wrote countless essays, novels and screenplays throughout his lengthy career. He even had a few Broadway plays and Academy Award-winning dramas under his belt.

Yet, after writing millions of words, there were only four he placed atop his list of favorites…

I told you so.

He claimed that these are the four most beautiful words in our common language.

It’s interesting, because most people loathe that expression… usually because it comes from a parent, snarky sibling, or know-it-all friend.

I myself have never been much of a fan of the phrase, and have avoided using it at all costs…

That is, until I took up shop at Wall Street Daily’s sister publication, Tech & Innovation Daily.

Since then, “I told you so” has become one of my favorite expressions. I absolutely love using it on my readers because, well… it means I’m doing my job.

And that’s why I’m writing to you today. Louis Basenese asked me to inform you of my most recent “I told you so” recommendation. It’s a stock that’s on fire as of late, and still has plenty of room to run…

Sapphire in the Rough

In October of last year, I started a series called “Tech All-Stars,” in which I profiled the top 14 stocks to own in 2014 for Tech & Innovation Daily subscribers.

One of those companies was GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), a little-known sapphire manufacturer headquartered in New Hampshire.

Now, it’s important to note that by “sapphire,” I don’t mean the actual sapphire gemstone.

What I’m referring to is synthetic, manmade sapphire – the strongest, most scratch-resistant material on the market today. It’s virtually unbreakable. In fact, the only thing stronger and more durable is a diamond.

Synthetic sapphire is used to make vastly superior touchscreen displays. And the industry for the material is poised to reach $35 billion by 2018 (more than double its current amount), according to research firm, DisplaySearch.

That projection is certainly justified, too, if you consider the array of industries that incorporate touchscreen technology – like defense, aerospace and medical devices.

But sapphire’s most notable implementation will fall within one of the largest growth markets of the next decade: mobile technology…

The Gorilla in the Room

As it stands today, Corning’s (GLW) Gorilla Glass display technology has a stranglehold on the mobile market share, with its material implanted in over 1.5 billion mobile devices.

Gorilla Glass has made a profound impact on electronics manufacturers worldwide. It currently unveiled its fourth-generation model, dubbed Gorilla Glass 3 Antimicrobial. And though it’s 20% thinner, 40% more scratch resistant, and now kills bacteria on the go, it pales in comparison to GTAT’s sapphire screen.

In fact, GTAT’s technology is three times harder and three times more scratch resistant than the most advanced screen Corning has been able to put out to date.

So why, then, does Corning utterly dominate the mobile industry?

I think the O’Jays put it best in their 1973 hit song: “Money, money, money, money… MONEY!”

The cost (in terms of volume production) for Gorilla Glass is roughly $2 per screen. For one of GTAT’s screens, we’re talking upwards of $20.

And that’s the only problem lying at the heart of sapphire’s infancy. It’s just far too expensive at the moment. But like any investment in the technology, you can never think in terms of the here and now. You always need to think ahead of the curve.

But don’t take my word for it. Take Apple’s (AAPL)…

Gorilla Glass Heads for the Graveyard

One of the main reasons I zeroed in on GTAT back in November was the company’s established relationship with Apple – and the potential for the company to make deals with the tech giant down the road.

You see, GT Advanced already provides Apple with a sapphire cover for the iPhone 5S camera and fingerprint biometric sensor. And back in November, Apple had just increased sapphire orders from GT in what appeared to be a “trial run.”

That was great news for GTAT, as the deal boosted revenue for the company’s sapphire business to $28.9 million, or 11% of total year-to-date sales.

But when I looked a little deeper, something colossal seemed to be waiting in GTAT’s wings…

The company forecast that 2014 revenue would reach between $600 million and $800 million – with 80% of sales coming from the sapphire business.

Yet GT didn’t say exactly where the new sales boost was coming from…

But at the end of last week, Matt Margolis from 9to5mac released documents about Apple’s secretive plans with sapphire technology – and GTAT in particular.

As stated in the document, Apple signed a $578-million deal with GT Advanced Technologies to open and operate a sapphire manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona. (So after seven years, it looks like we’re saying goodbye to Gorilla Glass!)

The collaboration points to Apple ramping up its implementation of sapphire-crystal displays in future iPhone models.

And GTAT will need to boost its sapphire screen production to meet Apple’s needs. (At current capacity, GT Advanced can make up to 200 million screens per year. But that number will need to dramatically increase in order to put a sapphire touchscreen in every Apple product.)

When reports broke about the deal, GTAT shares shot through the roof. They jumped almost 30% by the time the market closed yesterday.Of course, the stock is experiencing some profit-taking at this time. But that’s a good thing! Look for any weakness in GTAT as an opportunity to buy into the future of touchscreen technology on the cheap.

Original post

GT Advanced Technologies: A Stock To Watch, Just Ask Apple
GT Advanced Technologies: A Stock To Watch, Just Ask Apple

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