Another Tough Year for Canadian Solar

Solar Farm DesertCanadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results before markets opened this morning.

For the fourth quarter, the solar panel maker reported an adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) loss of $1.01. In the same period a year ago, Canadian Solar reported a net loss of $1.00 per share on revenue of $326 million. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for a net loss of $0.95 per share and $318.53 million in revenue.

For the full year, the company reported an adjusted EPS loss of $3.04 on revenues of $1.3 billion. The consensus estimates called for a net loss of $2.90 per share on revenues of $1.31 million.

On a GAAP basis, Canadian Solar posted a quarterly net loss of $2.43 per share, compared with a loss of $1.01 a year ago. The company wrote down $31.24 million in bad debt during the fourth quarter and reserved about $30 million after an arbitrator ruled for competitor LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (NYSE: LDK) in a dispute between the two Chinese solar makers.

The company's CEO said:

2012 was a difficult year for the entire solar industry. Despite the headwinds, we maintained our practice of balancing the desire to expand with the need for prudent business management and cost control. As a result, Canadian Solar has fared better than most of our competitors. We have further increased our market share, and rapidly established our total solutions business with investments in the mid- and downstream segments.

That the company increased its market share may not be particularly good news for shareholders. The company's gross margin for 2012 fell from 9.6% a year earlier to 7%. The only good news there is that Canadian Solar did not lose money on every panel it sold. Gross margin improved a bit in the fourth quarter, from 2.2% in the third quarter to 5%.

The company's first-quarter outlook includes shipments of 290 to 310 megawatts of solar modules with a gross margin of 8% to 10%. For the full year, the company expects to ship 1,600 to 1,800 megawatts, compared with 1,543 megawatts shipped in 2012. The consensus analysts' estimates for 2013 are EPS of $1.15 on revenue of $1.81 billion.

Shares are down about 5.6% in premarket trading, at $3.52 in a 52-week range of $1.95 to $5.15. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $5.30 before today's results were announced.


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Alternative Energy, Earnings, Green Biz, Technology Companies Tagged: CSIQ

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