Canadian Solar shipments top forecast, Yingli lags

Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:49pm EST
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By Matt Daily

(Reuters) - Canadian Solar said on Tuesday it shipped more solar panels in the fourth quarter than it previously expected, while its rival Yingli Green Energy warned its sales fell short of its forecast.

A steep 50 percent drop in prices of solar panels during 2011 left many manufacturers scrambling to sell a glut of supplies at the end of the year, and prompted many companies to run factories at reduced levels.

Canadian Solar said its shipments during the quarter would top its November forecast by more than 20 percent, sending its shares higher, while Yingli forecast its shipments would drop about 30 percent from the third quarter, worse than the mid-20s percent drop it had anticipated.

Yingli also said it would take charges of $404 million related to a write-down of its polysilicon production business and for goodwill related to acquisitions completed between 2006-2008, as well as a $135 million charge related to polysilicon inventory purchases.

Last week, Suntech Power Holdings said its fourth-quarter shipment were stronger than originally forecast.

All three of those companies have major manufacturing operations in China, and could see sales to the fast-growing U.S. market curtailed if Washington backs a trade complaint and imposes a tariff on solar imports from that country next month.

A recent jump in demand for the renewable energy equipment, largely due to a record level of solar installations in Germany in December, has surprised most solar industry players.

That has helped many solar stocks move higher in the first several weeks of the year after a bashing that cut share prices across the sector by more than 60 percent last year.   Continued...