30 May 2011

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

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 for its fiscal fourth quarter (ended 2 April) of $271.6m, up 3.3% on $262.9m last quarter and 40% on $194.7m a year ago. Revenue by business segment was $79.2m in polysilicon, $186m in photovoltaic (PV), and $6.4m in sapphire (all of which was sapphire materials revenue).

For full-year fiscal 2011, revenue was a record $899m (up 65% on fiscal 2010's $544.2m): $143.6m in polysilicon, $740.1m in PV, and $15.3m in sapphire (all of which was sapphire materials revenue).

“We took an important strategic step to diversify the business in fiscal 2011 with the acquisition of Crystal Systems [last July], which has allowed us to enter the high-growth sapphire business,” notes says president & CEO Tom Gutierrez. Founded in 1971, Crystal Systems Inc of Salem, MA was a crystalline growth technology firm manufacturing large-area sapphire substrates for the LED, defense, medical and aerospace industries.

Gross margin rose from 40.2% in fiscal 2010 to 42% in fiscal 2011. However, although up from 37.5% a year ago, fiscal Q4’s gross margin of 43% is down from 46.4% last quarter.

Net income doubled from fiscal 2010’s $87.3m ($0.60 per share) to a record $174.8m in fiscal 2011. However, although up from $33.3m a year ago, fiscal Q4’s net income of $51.9m is down from $63.6m last quarter.

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of fiscal Q4 were $362.7m, up from $320.4m at the end of fiscal Q3 and $250.7m of cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments a year ago. In addition, debt was $120.3m, down from $125m at the end of the fiscal Q3 and no debt a year ago. “We concluded the year with a strong balance sheet and cash position, while utilizing $203.5m of cash to buy back 26.5 million shares from our private equity investor,” says Gutierrez.

Net new orders in fiscal Q4 were $234.2m ($14.7m in polysilicon, $125.1m in PV and $94.4m in sapphire). This took total net bookings for full-year 2011 to more than $1.1bn. As of 2 April, order backlog was $1.19bn ($536.7m in polysilicon, $468.1m in PV and $184.2m in sapphire). Included in the total backlog was $445.5m of deferred revenue.

“Our sapphire substrate business continues to be fully booked and our sapphire equipment business has developed rapidly, with over $484m of orders booked as of today,” says Gutierrez. “The healthy pace of business has continued into the new fiscal year, with an additional $722m of orders booked so far in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012,” he adds.

For fiscal 2012, GT Solar has raised its guidance for revenue from $850m–1bn to $1–1.1bn. Gross margin should be 42–44%.

“The strength of our balance sheet enables us to significantly increase our investment in a continued flow of new products and additional strategic opportunities,” notes Gutierrez. “Combined with our strong backlog and continued bookings momentum, this positions GT very well for the foreseeable future.”

See related items:

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

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