A Dark Horse With the Potential to Be a Technology Winner

It's been a long road for GT Advanced Technologies and there are a lot of questions the company faces going forward. When will its technology take off? When will revenue pick up? And when can investors expect to see a profit.

GTAT Revenue Quarterly Chart

GTAT Revenue Quarterly data by YCharts

The past year has been particularly bad for the company, but there are a few things that investors can look forward to in a company that's quietly providing technology that could affect many growing industries.

Technology potential
GT Advanced Technologies has long been reliant on the solar industry for demand, and when China was handing out easy money for expansion times were good. But, in the last year, the expansion boom stopped in China and revenue has suffered.

The next step in the industry is to build even more efficient modules using an N-type cell. GTAT is making the HiCz product to fill that need with targeted cell efficiency of 22%-24%, which is planned to be launched in 2014. The technology is better than what exists now and has similar costs, so if the capital exists to expand, then the product should be a success.  

In sapphire, the opportunities for growth are almost limitless. Sapphire crystals can be used in LEDs, smartphone screens, camera covers, watches, and almost anything else that needs a strong screen. It's stronger than Corning's Gorilla Glass and is virtually unscratchable. The potential is there and now GTAT needs to take advantage of it.

The challenge for GTAT
The losses shown above have led to balance sheet challenges as well. What was once a huge cash load at GTAT has become only a small net cash balance; if losses continue, that could evaporate in the next quarter or two.

GTAT Cash and Equivalents Chart

GTAT Cash and Equivalents data by YCharts

In the second half of this year investors need to see sales pick up or the stock will continue to flounder.

Is growth coming?
GTAT is in a great position serving the solar, smartphone, and LED markets. All three markets should continue to grow and provide consistent demand so that GTAT's technology would become widely adopted.

The problem is that none of these markets has yet to take hold of its technology and that's why sales have been sluggish. If these markets do buy in to GTAT's products more widely, the company would be a dark-horse winner in some important technological revolutions currently taking place.

GTAT can't dominate every industry, though. There's another company revolutionizing the technology used to manufacture products. The Economist compares this disruptive invention to the steam engine and the printing press. Business Insider says it's "the next trillion dollar industry." And everyone from BMW, to Nike, to the U.S. Air Force is already using it every day. Watch The Motley Fool's shocking video presentation today to discover the garage gadget that's putting an end to the Made In China era... and learn the investing strategy we've used to double our money on these 3 stocks. Click here to watch now!

The article A Dark Horse With the Potential to Be a Technology Winner originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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sapphire is already used for price scanning counters in your favorite grocery or hardware store. Can you find any stratches on them? Also, is it possible to make stratch proof prescription glasses if you can make lenses of sapphire.. This will be a godsend .. Plastic lenses can kiss their behind! Wahoo!

July 29 2013 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is HiCZ going to be a durable material for solar panels able to retain its peak performance year after year under the duress of hot sunlight day in and out. Sunpower is currently boasting the most durable solar panel . Well, there is another thing about large scale solar farms and the investors whoever they are, are they really vested in maximum solar output or are they primarily interested in the property where the solar panels are mounted as cheaply as they can find like First Solar's. I am starting to feel that First Solar no longer deserves to earn federal energy tax credits since they are making very low efficiency solar panels which makes it so easy to undercut the competitors in price . First Solar's customers probably don't care about the quality of the solar panels , because they are like the wolf in sheepskin who are primarily after the property that are probably expected to triple or quadruple in value by the end of 20-25 year of farming sunlight. First Solar already has a recycling facility in place to handle all the spent solar panels at end of its lifecycle all prepaid . Will First Solar still stick around to pick up the toxic solar panels 20 years later or will the facility be sold to future speculators or vultures? It is interesting enough that GTAT is not selling equipment to Sunpower which should be telling enough... HICZ may be other inferior material that will lose in performance pretty quickly every year. Any wager here, readers? BTW, my neighbor wants me dead rotting in jail!

July 29 2013 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply