NEW YORK - Chinese solar energy company Suntech Power Holdings Inc on Thursday reported a surprise quarterly profit and said it expects its revenues to grow in the second quarter.
Suntech, like other solar companies, has been hit by the sharp decline in prices for photovoltaic solar products as the credit crisis has choked off funding for new products even as companies have been putting a glut of new supplies on the market.
But Suntech, which also will issue 20 million new American Depositary Shares to fund repurchases and redemptions of securities, said it expects moderate revenue growth in the second quarter and a solid outlook going forward.
China's recently announced national solar subsidy, Japan's reintroduction of solar subsidies in 2009 and state incentive programs and the federal stimulus package in the U.S. should provide a strong foundation for mid-term growth, Suntech Chief Executive Zhengrong Shi said in a statement.
First-quarter net profit was $1.8 million, or 1 cent a share, compared with $46.7 million, or 27 cents a share, a year earlier, while revenue fell 27 percent to $315.7 million.
Analysts were expecting a loss of 6 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $350.4 million, according to Reuters Estimates.
On Tuesday, Suntech's smaller Chinese peer JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd (JASO.O) posted a larger than expected quarterly loss and said it would miss its 2009 revenue target. German Q-Cells SE (QCEG.DE) earlier this month cut its sales outlook for the third time since December.
Suntech expects full-year shipments to be in the range of 600-700 megawatts and capital expenditure of about $100 million.
Solar makers are hoping that U.S. stimulus measures approved earlier this year will allow new projects to get under way and give financial players more confidence in the sector.
Last week, Suntech said it would set up a manufacturing facility in the United States, though it has yet to choose a location.
Suntech's ADS in New York slipped 1.8 percent in premarket trade to $15.55.
(Reporting by Matt Daily in New York, with additional reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Gerald E. McCormick)