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AXT, Inc. Reports First Quarter 2005 Results

FREMONT, Calif., April 19, 2005 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- AXT, Inc. (Nasdaq: AXTI), a leading manufacturer of compound semiconductor substrates, today reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2005. The company's condensed consolidated financial statements have been presented to reflect the opto-electronics division as a discontinued operation for all periods presented.

Revenue for the first quarter of 2005 was $6.6 million compared with $7.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2004. During the first quarter of 2005, gallium arsenide (GaAs) substrate revenue increased by 11 percent to $5.2 million from $4.7 million in the prior quarter. Indium phosphide (InP) substrate revenue was $137,000 for the first quarter of 2005 compared with $325,000 in the prior quarter, and raw materials revenue was $1.3 million for the first quarter of 2005 compared with $2.6 million in the prior quarter.

Gross margin was 4.2 percent of revenue in the first quarter of 2005 compared with 8.2 percent of revenue in the fourth quarter of 2004. Gross margin in the fourth quarter of 2004 included one-time year-end adjustments, primarily related to a reduction in regular sales returns reserve and inventory valuation adjustments, that together caused an improvement in gross margins in the fourth quarter from approximately 3.2 percent to 8.2 percent.

Operating expenses were $4.7 million in the first quarter of 2005 compared with $3.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2004. The $4.7 million included $1.3 million of expenses to be incurred for decommissioning our Fremont facilities in the second and third quarters of 2005.

The company reported a loss from continuing operations of $4.5 million for the first quarter of 2005 compared with a loss from continuing operations of $2.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2004.

Net interest and other income was $14,000 for the first quarter of 2005 compared with net interest and other income of $149,000 for the fourth quarter of 2004.

Net loss in the first quarter of 2005 was $4.1 million or a loss of $0.18 per basic and diluted share, compared with a net loss of $2.3 million or a loss of $0.10 per basic and diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2004.

Management Qualitative Comments

"AXT has many great assets that will be essential in substantially improving our performance," said Phil Yin, chief executive officer. "Don Tatzin and the management team have made significant changes in the past ten months that will lead to improved results. While we are on the right course, there is much more to be done before we can be satisfied with our performance. I intend to move aggressively to enable AXT to perform at its highest potential.

"In terms of our product quality, we announced last quarter that we are distributing samples of our auto-cleaned four-and six-inch diameter GaAs wafers. Many samples are now with customers and the feedback has been positive. During the first quarter, we received orders from several customers for larger diameter substrates and are working diligently to qualify and gain orders from other customers. Regaining significant market share in larger diameter substrates is critical to our success. The power amplifiers and other wireless communications products manufactured on these substrates represent more than fifty percent of the total gallium arsenide market and offer a greater opportunity to us given our low current share of this market. We will aggressively pursue these customers, who are located primarily in the United States, Japan and other parts of Asia.

"We remain focused on improving product quality and quality systems and then selling our products aggressively to regain market share. We are also working to improve our production processes, further strengthen our incoming and in-process quality control procedures and improve our consistency and level of product quality while boosting our efficiency. With these changes, we are moving towards rebuilding our business and restoring the confidence of our customers and our shareholders."

Outlook for Second Quarter, Ending June 30, 2005
    AXT projects the following for the second quarter:

    -- Revenue is expected to be between $6.7 million and $7.1 million.

-- Consolidated net loss per diluted share is expected to be between $0.13 and $0.15.

Conference Call

A conference call will be held on April 19, 2005 at 1:30 p.m. PDT. The conference call can be accessed at 973-935-2100 (PIN 5864358). The call will also be simulcast on the Internet at Replays will be available at 973-341-3080 until April 26, 2005. Financial and statistical information to be discussed in the call will be available on the company's website immediately prior to commencement of the call. Management's accompanying script will be available on the company's website immediately after the call through April 19, 2006. Additional investor information can be accessed at or by calling the company's Investor Relations Department at 510-683-5900.

About AXT, Inc.

AXT is a leading producer of high-performance compound semiconductor substrates for the fiber optics and communications industries. The company's proprietary Vertical Gradient freeze (VGF) crystal growth technology produces low-defect, semi-insulating and semi-conducting gallium arsenide, indium phosphide and germanium wafers. For more information, see AXT's website at . The company can also be reached at 4281 Technology Drive, Fremont, California 94538 or by calling 510-683-5900. AXT is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol AXTI.

Safe Harbor Statement

The foregoing paragraphs contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal Securities laws, including statements related to our anticipated improved future results, anticipated new orders from customers, improved market share and opportunities to improve sales in certain industries and markets and grow our business, improvements in our product quality and production processes, as well as the outlook for our quarterly financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2005. These forward-looking statements are based upon specific assumptions that are subject to uncertainties and factors relating to the company's operations and business environment that could cause actual results of the company to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements contained in the foregoing discussion. Such uncertainties and factors include: our ability to increase sales and market share and maintain product quality improvements, our ability to recruit new qualified staff, overall conditions in the markets in which we compete and competitive pressures, including pricing pressures, within those markets, market acceptance and demand for our products, and other factors as set forth in the company's Form 10-K and other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, all of which are difficult to predict and some of which are beyond the company's control. The company does not undertake any obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement, either as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

               (Unaudited, in thousands, except per share data)

                                                       Three Months Ended
                                                            March 31,
                                                     2005              2004

    Revenue                                         $6,634            $9,776
    Cost of revenue                                  6,355             9,243
    Gross profit                                       279               533

    Operating expenses:
      Selling, general and administrative            4,252             2,770
      Research and development                         362               341
      Restructuring charge                             125                --
        Total operating expenses                     4,739             3,111
    Loss from operations                            (4,460)           (2,578)
    Interest income, net                              (119)              (24)
    Other expense (income), net                        105               (34)
    Loss before provision for income
     taxes                                          (4,446)           (2,520)
    Provision for income taxes                          35                40
    Loss from continuing operations                 (4,481)           (2,560)
    Discontinued operations:
      Gain from discontinued operations,
       net of tax                                      358                --
    Net loss                                       $(4,123)          $(2,560)

    Basic and diluted loss per share:
      Loss from continuing operations               $(0.20)           $(0.11)
      Gain from discontinued operations               0.02                --
    Net loss per share                              $(0.18)           $(0.11)

    Shares used in computing basic and
     diluted loss per share                         23,147            22,995

                                  AXT, INC.
                          (Unaudited, in thousands)

                                                   March 31,      December 31,
                                                     2005             2004
    Current assets
       Cash and cash equivalents                   $14,581           $12,117
       Short-term investments                       12,600            20,062
       Accounts receivable, net                      4,462             4,034
       Inventories                                  15,984            16,462
       Prepaid expenses and other current
        assets                                       3,351             2,523
       Assets held for sale                          1,250             1,250
              Total current assets                  52,228            56,448

    Property, plant and equipment                   17,775            19,045
    Other assets                                     3,802             3,832
    Restricted deposits                              8,215             8,215

             Total assets                          $82,020           $87,540

    Liabilities and stockholders' equity:
    Current liabilities
       Accounts payable                             $1,779            $1,895
       Accrued liabilities                           8,019             7,690
       Accrued restructuring                           548               552
       Current portion of long-term debt               450               450
            Total current liabilities               10,796            10,587

    Long-term debt, net of current
     portion                                         7,450             7,600
    Other long-term liabilities                      1,219             1,336
            Total liabilities                       19,465            19,523

    Stockholders' equity:
       Preferred stock                               3,532             3,532
       Common stock                                155,480           155,454
       Accumulated deficit                         (96,684)          (92,561)
       Other comprehensive income                      227             1,592
            Total stockholders' equity              62,555            68,017

            Total liabilities and
             stockholders' equity                  $82,020           $87,540


Wilson W. Cheung, Chief Financial Officer of AXT, Inc., +1-510-683-5900