DURHAM – Cree (Nasdaq: CREE) on Wednesday reported a loss of $184.4 million in its fiscal first quarter but CEO Greg Lowe remains optimistic as the company marches toward a bigger focus on its silicon carbide business and WolfSpeed power products.

“We are pleased with our performance in the first quarter and the momentum that continues to build for our innovative solutions across key end markets,” Lowe said in a statement. “Our recent announcement to sell the Cree LED business to SMART Global Holdings is an important milestone in our transformational journey as we continue to lead the industry’s transition from silicon to silicon carbide.”

The Durham-based company said it had a loss of $1.68 per share. Losses, adjusted for asset impairment costs and non-recurring costs, came to 19 cents per share.

The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 22 cents per share.

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The maker of energy-efficient lighting posted revenue of $216.6 million in the period, which also topped Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $209.3 million.

For the current quarter ending in January, Cree expects its results to range from a loss of 27 cents per share to a loss of 23 cents per share.

The company said it expects revenue in the range of $118 million to $124 million for the fiscal second quarter. Analysts surveyed by Zacks had expected revenue of $209.3 million.

Cree shares have increased 43% since the beginning of the year. In the final minutes of trading on Wednesday, shares hit $66.22, a climb of 38% in the last 12 months.

Read the full earnings report online.