UPDATE 2-Canadian Solar cuts shipment forecast, bets on power plants

Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:43am EST
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* Cuts full-year shipment forecast to 1.5 GW-1.6 GW, from 1.8 GW-2.0 GW

* Expects 4th-qtr gross margins of 1 pct-3 pct, vs 2.2 pct in 3rd qtr

* Expects 4th-qtr shipments of 380 MW-420 MW, vs 384 MW in 3rd qtr

* 3rd-qtr revenue down 35 percent

Nov 15 (Reuters) - Canadian Solar Inc lowered its shipment forecast for the year as solar panel prices remained depressed and said it was looking to its lucrative power plants business to drive growth.

The company's shares fell 4 percent to $2.20 on the Nasdaq.

Solar companies have been hit by global oversupply that has erased margins across the industry. Companies such as First Solar Inc and SunPower Corp are trying to improve margins by developing large power plants.

Canadian Solar, which pins its hopes on the U.S. power plants business, has orders to build projects of up to 130 megawatt (MW) in 2013.

The company expects to generate more than half of its 2013 revenue from its total solutions business, which covers everything from the making of solar cells to the installation of plants, Chief Executive Shawn Qu said on a call with analysts.   Continued...