GT Solar Increases Profits

GT Solar International, Inc. (NASDAQ: SOLR), a global provider of equipment and technology for the solar power industry, reported increased revenues and profit for its fiscal year 2009 third quarter, which ended December 27, 2008.

Revenues for the quarter totaled $205.2 million, up 46% from $140.2 million in the previous quarter and compared with $14.7 million year over year. Revenues for the third fiscal quarter included $109.4 million in the photovoltaic (PV) segment of the business, which consists of Directional Solidification System (DSS) furnaces and related products, and $95.8 million in the polysilicon segment of the business, which consists of Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) reactors and related products.

As anticipated, the third quarter revenues for the polysilicon segment included $91.5 million of revenue recognized from the first contract with DC Chemical.

Gross profit increased to $89.5 million, or 43.6% of revenues, compared to $1.7 million, or 11.8% of revenues in 3Q08. Operating margin was 34.6%, compared to negative 60.4% in 3Q08. The company had net income of $43.1 million in 3Q09 versus a loss of $4.5 million for the same quarter of fiscal 2008. Earnings per share on a fully diluted basis were $0.30 versus a $0.03 loss for the same quarter last year.

At quarter’s end, the company’s backlog exceeded $1.3 billion with $493 million in the PV business and $837 million in the polysilicon business. Bookings for the quarter were $120.8 million. This included $63.0 million of bookings in the PV segment and $57.8 million in the polysilicon segment.

“Our third quarter results reflect the resilience of our business model with strong revenue performance, excellent operating and gross margins, and solid profitability” said Tom Zarrella, GT Solar’s president and CEO. “While we have seen an impact on some of our customers, whose ability to grow in the near term has been affected by the economic downturn, we continue to experience growth with a number of customers in both segments of our business. We are also encouraged by recent new customer additions, particularly by the interest we are seeing from new well-capitalized entrants in the solar industry.

The company provided guidance on financial performance for 4Q09 ending March 28, 2009, for revenues in the range of $140 million-$170 million, with earnings per share of between $0.16 and $0.22 fully diluted. The company also updated its annual revenue guidance for the fiscal year ending March 28, 2009 to a range of $540 million to $570 million and its EPS guidance for the year to a range of $0.68 to $0.74.

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