Why Shares of AXT Inc. Dropped Today

What happened

Shares of semiconductor substrate manufacturer AXT Inc. (NASDAQ: AXTI) slumped on Thursday after the company disclosed that a fire at one of its facilities halted all wafer substrate production. Guidance was lowered as a result, sending the stock down 16% by 11:15 a.m. EDT.

So what

A fire at AXT's Beijing manufacturing facility occurred on the evening of March 15, located in the gallium arsenide and germanium crystal growth production area. All production in that area has been stopped. The fire caused no injuries or structural damage, but the processing of all wafer substrates has been halted, even in unaffected areas.

Image source: AXT Inc.

AXT is working with the fire department and other regulatory agencies in an effort to find the source of the fire. The company provided no estimate for when production would resume. First-quarter revenue guidance was lowered as a result of the shutdown, with the company now expecting revenue between $18.0 million and $18.5 million. The previous guidance range was $19.5 million to $20.5 million.

Now what

The market reacted harshly to what appears to be a temporary situation. AXT stock nearly tripled from the beginning of 2016 to market close on Wednesday, so volatility isn't surprising, especially given that the stock traded for 35 times forward earnings prior to Thursday's drop. But the loss of a few million dollars of revenue due to a one-time incident doesn't seem very meaningful in the long run.

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Timothy Green has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.