MEMC, GT Solar Earnings Show Continued Solar Recovery

by: SustainableBusiness

Two US solar companies released quarterly reports showing that recovery in the industry continues.

Solar wafer producer MEMC (NYSE: WFR) shrank its net loss for the quarter on increased sales.

MEMC reported 4Q09 loss of $7.1 million, or $0.03 per share, compared to a net loss of $64.6 million, or $0.29 per share in 3Q09 and net income of $70.3 million, or $0.31 per share, in the 2008 fourth quarter.

Net sales for the quarter increased 15% to $356.7 million (quarter-to-quarter), though still down from $425.7 million in 4Q08.

"The fourth quarter marked the third sequential quarterly improvement in revenue as we continue to recover from the economic downturn," said Ahmad Chatila, MEMC's Chief Executive Officer. "Pricing pressure has moderated, product volumes continued to increase and our efforts to improve our competitive positioning are working."

In November, MEMC acquired California solar integrator SunEdison.

SunEdison's net sales for the period from November 20 through December 31 were $3.8 million. Gross profit was $1.1 million, or 28.9% of net sales. Operating expenses for the period were $11.5 million, and operating loss for the period was $10.4 million. During the period, 13 megawatts were installed and interconnected, with the majority of the associated revenue and profits to be recognized in future periods

GT Solar Results

GT Solar (Nasdaq: SOLR), which makes Solar production equipment, significantly increased earnings in the quarter ended Dec. 26, 2009.

The company had net income of $36.8 million in its 3Q10, versus $9.4 million in the previous quarter and $43.1 million for the same period a year ago. Earnings per share were $0.25, versus $0.06 for 2Q10 and $0.30 for 3Q09.

“We are pleased with our performance in the third-quarter,” said Tom Gutierrez, president and CEO.

We have seen an increase in business activity over the last four months from our key customers in Asia, indicating that their utilization rates are climbing and, as a result, the supply environment for low cost, high quality wafers is expected to tighten. We believe recent orders, including some from new customers, provide further evidence that GT Solar remains the technology leader in the market and that our systems continue to be the choice of leading PV manufacturers.

In the third quarter, we received new orders of approximately $59 million including two contracts with subsidiaries of China-based GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Limited, one for our TCS Production Technology Solution and the other for DSS furnaces. We continue to operate the business profitably, driven in part by our flexible and lean operating structure, and have what we believe is one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry with a cash position in excess of $194 million, zero debt and a deferred revenue balance of $378 million.

The company updated its fiscal year 2010 guidance to the upper end of its previous range with revenue of $500 million to $550 million and fully diluted earnings per share of $0.52 to $0.60. The company reiterated its gross margin guidance for the fiscal year of approximately 39%.

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