8 August 2011

GT Solar’s quarterly revenue rises 71% year-on-year

For its fiscal first-quarter 2012 (ended 2 July 2011), GT Solar International Inc of Merrimack, NH, USA (a provider of polysilicon production technology as well as sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems and materials for the solar, LED and other specialty markets) has reported revenue of $231.1m (98% from Asia). This is down 15% on $271.6m last quarter but up 71% on $135.2m a year ago. Revenue by business segment was $23.9m in polysilicon (down from $79.2m last quarter), $198.6m in photovoltaics (up from $186m), and $8.6m in sapphire, all of which was sapphire materials revenue (down from $15.3m).

“Our efforts to diversify the company’s revenue base position us to weather cyclicality that we may encounter in the PV, polysilicon and LED industries,” believes president & CEO Tom Gutierrez. In particular, during the quarter, GT Solar shipped its first advanced sapphire furnace (ASF), for which volume shipments are expected to start in fiscal Q2/2012.

Gross margin has risen from 34% a year ago and 43% last quarter to a record 49.1%. Meanwhile, operating margin has increased from 20% a year ago and 30.5% last quarter to 34%, despite operating expenses almost doubling from $18.8m a year ago and $34.1m last quarter to $34.7m (including R&D spending rising from $3.7m through $8m to $11.3m). Net income has grown from $16.5m a year ago and $51.9m last quarter to $52.1m.

During the quarter, cash and cash equivalents rose from $362.7m to a record $473.4m, while capital expenditure was $9.5m (down from $16.1m last quarter) and debt was cut by $24.7m from $120.3m to $95.6m.

Net new orders totaled a record $1.3bn ($464.7m in polysilicon, $95.2m in PV, $776.8m in sapphire). As of 2 July, quarter-end backlog was a record $2.3bn (almost doubling from $1.19bn last quarter). This included $978.2m in polysilicon, $369.6m in PV, and $952.5m in sapphire. Included in the backlog was $395.7m of deferred revenue.

“Our strong balance sheet and cash generation capabilities enable us to evaluate additional strategic opportunities to strengthen the company’s long-term growth prospects,” comments Gutierrez.

“Bolstered by our $2.3bn backlog position, we are confident in our ability to achieve our fiscal-year 2012 guidance and also believe that we have built a solid foundation for continued growth in fiscal-year 2013 and beyond,” he adds.

After raising its original fiscal 2012 revenue guidance from $850m–1bn in late May, GT Solar has reiterated its latest fiscal 2012 guidance for revenue of $1–1.1bn (up 17% on fiscal 2011’s $899m). However, the firm has now also raised its guidance for gross margin from 42–44% to 43–45%, and for operating expenditure from $115–125m to $130–140m. Expected capital expenditure remains $25–30m.

* Effective 8 August (with the market opening on NASDAQ), GT Solar International Inc is changing its name, ticker, CUSIP number and website address to GT Advanced Technologies Inc, GTAT (NASDAQ), 36191U 106 and www.gtat.com respectively as it establishes a new global brand to reflect its broader range of markets and technologies since its July 2010 acquisition of Crystal Systems Inc of Salem, MA, USA (a crystalline growth technology firm manufacturing large-area sapphire substrates for the LED, defense, medical and aerospace industries).

See related items:

GT Solar’s full-year income doubles as revenue grows 65%

GT Solar launches ASF100 advanced sapphire furnace

GT Solar wins $91m in sapphire furnace orders from Asia

GT wins $218.9m sapphire furnace order from Haotian Opto

GT Solar wins $41.6m order for sapphire furnaces from new Asian customer

GT Solar wins $33.3m order for sapphire furnaces from South Korea’s OCI

Tags: GT Solar Crystal Systems Sapphire crystallization furnaces

Visit: www.gtsolar.com

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