LDK Solar Posts Dim Sales in Third Quarter, Lowers Forecast

Andrew Klips  |

LDK Solar Co. (LDK) reported expanding losses in the fiscal third quarter and slashed its full-year revenue forecast as high import tariffs and soft demand overseas shriveled sales.

The China-based company reported a loss of $136.9 million, or $1.08 per American Depositary Share (ADS), in the third quarter versus a loss of $114.5 million, or 87 cents per ADS, in the same quarter last year.  The latest quarter included an income tax benefit of $25.4 million, whereas the year prior quarter included an income tax benefit of $1.7 million.

Net sales tumbled to $291.5 million last quarter from $471.9 million the year prior quarter, although they did top the company’s estimate of $220 million to $260 million.

Wall Street was expecting a loss of $1.24 per share and revenue of $246.4 million for the maker of polysilicon, wafers, cells and modules.

It was the sixth consecutive quarterly loss for LDK Solar.

“While we saw improvement to our top and bottom line in the third quarter, our results continue to reflect the industry-wide pricing pressure and demand weakness that is negatively impacting the entire solar supply chain,” said Xingxue Tong, President and chief executive at LDK.

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The solar industry has been facing strong headwinds with weakening demand from Europe, the largest solar market in the world, a sharp drop in prices for products of about 75 percent over the past four years and increasing duties on Chinese imports by the U.S.

As it did with its last earnings report, LDK lowered its revenue guidance for the full year, now predicting between $950 million to $1 billion in revenue.  The company most recently had predicted sales of $1.1 to $1.15 billion.  For the fourth quarter, LDK’s revenue guidance of $230 million to $290 million was far below analyst estimates of $552.4 million.

LDK Solar ended the quarter with $111.9 million in cash and cash equivalents and $340.7 million in short-term pledged bank deposits.

Some recent economic data showing that manufacturing activity is increasing in China helped bolster the value of solar stocks that have been taking a beating all year.  Shares of LDK added about 40 percent in November, but are still down about 72 percent for 2012.  During the month, the company received a delisting warning from the New York Stock Exchange about not meeting minimum requirements as the stock traded for 30 straight days below $1.00 per share.  Under NYSE rules, the photovoltaic maker has six months to get its average closing price above the minimum threshold or be delisted from the exchange.

Shares closed Friday at $1.17.

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