6 October 2010


5N Plus’ revenue supplemented by non-solar products as Firebird ramps up

For its fiscal first-quarter 2011 (to end-August 2010), 5N Plus Inc of Montreal, Quebec, Canada has reported (in Canadian dollars) revenue of $18.8m, down 5% on $19.7m last quarter but up 16.9% on $16.1m a year ago.

5N Plus produces high-purity metals such as tellurium, cadmium, selenium, germanium, indium and antimony. It also produces II-VI semiconducting compounds such as cadmium telluride (CdTe), cadmium sulphide (CdS) and indium antimonide (InSb) as precursors for the growth of crystals for applications including infra-red detectors for night-vision systems, radiation detectors for medical imaging, thermoelectric modules for cooling, and thin-film photovoltaic cells for solar panels.

Net earnings were $4m, down on last quarter’s $4.4m but up on $3m a year ago. The firm says that its financial position remains solid, with cash and cash equivalents falling only slightly during the quarter from $68m to $64m. 5N Plus is now also part of the S&P/TSX Small Cap Index as of 17 September and the S&P/TSX Clean Technology Index as of 20 September.

The backlog of orders expected to translate into sales over the following 12 months has risen to $57.4m, from $52.7m last quarter.

“Demand for our solar-grade products remained strong throughout the quarter, although growth in overall sales revenues was driven primarily by our non-solar-grade products, including those of our Firebird subsidiary [acquired last December],” says president & CEO Jacques L’Écuyer. Firebird Technologies of Trail, British Columbia produces InSb wafers as well as antimony, indium and tin pure metals. “A further increase in the coming quarters for such non-solar products is expected, as our new Firebird facility is gradually brought up to speed,” adds L’Écuyer.

“Further strengthening in the demand for our solar products is also expected following recent capacity expansion announcements made by our main customer, as well as by the supply agreements we recently entered into with other CdTe solar module manufacturers, including Abound Solar [in August],” continues L’Écuyer.

“We are also extending the range of services offered to our solar customers to include full module recycling services, which will be soon be carried out in our new facility in Madison, Wisconsin, in an effort to address all key customer requirements,” he adds.

“Consistent with our growth strategy, we also elected during the quarter to provide financing to Sylarus [of Saint George, UT, USA], one of the very few germanium substrate suppliers for high-efficiency solar cells in both space and terrestrial applications,” says L’Écuyer. “This is an area of the solar market that we were not addressing through our existing product offering. As a result we expect to further strengthen our germanium-related activities and leverage Firebird's line of products.”

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5N’s profits still down despite further revenue growth

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