North Coast Solar Stocks

December 14, 2009

LDK Solar Signs Module Supply Contract With Enfinity

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , — Jason @ 3:15 am

3:15 am EST, Monday December 14, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Dec. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of solar wafers, announced today that it has signed a contract to supply solar modules to Belgium-based Enfinity. Under terms of the agreement, LDK Solar will deliver approximately 50 megawatts (MW) of solar modules to Enfinity in 2010.

“We are very excited to expand our relationship with Enfinity,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar. “This new module sales contract with Enfinity reflects the growing interest and demand for our quality module products from European customers.”

“We are very pleased to secure LDK Solar’s quality modules, the contract reflects one quarter of our total demand for 2010,” stated Gino Van Neer, Board member of Enfinity. “We look forward to further cooperation with LDK Solar as we continue to build our leadership presence in the renewable energy sector.”

About Enfinity

Enfinity, headquartered in Belgium, is a fast-growing and ambitious business, internationally active in renewable energy. As a project specialist, Enfinity looks after the development and financing of in-house solar and wind energy power stations for electricity generation and is currently present in 19 countries in Europe, Asia and North America.

Besides its own project development, Enfinity sells integrated solar installations to companies and individuals. For individuals, this happens through an extensive dealer network which is geographically spread across Flanders and Wallonia.

In 2009 Enfinity will triple the turn-over to 240 million euro and today Enfinity provides work to more than 200 employees. At the beginning of 2009 Enfinity strengthened its international position with an investment of euro 50 million by Waterland investment company.

Belgian site: http://www.enfinity.be – International site: http://www.enfinity.biz

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December 9, 2009

LDK Solar Reportedly Plans Polysilicon Spinout

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 9:28 am

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

LDK Solar (LDK) plans to spin off its polysilicon business as an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, according to JLM Pacfiic Epoch, which cites a report on the Chinese site 163.com that quoted LDK CEO Peng Xianfeng.

Peng reportedly said that he believes poly prices will in the future not exhibit the large fluctuations that have characterized the markets in the recent past.

LDK in November sold a 15% stake in its its polysilicon plant in Xinyu City, China, to Jiangxi International Trust for about $219 million.

LDK this morning is up 25 cents, or 2.8% to $9.30.

December 4, 2009

LDK Solar and Q-Cells Announce Continuation of Supply Contract

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:10 am

11:10 am EST, Friday December 4, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif. and BITTERFELD-WOLFEN, Germany, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK) and Q-Cells SE jointly announce that the two companies have reached an agreement to continue their supply contract for solar wafers from 2009 to 2018. During recent amicable negotiations, the two companies resolved all differences of opinion over the interpretation of the agreement and neither side will pursue legal action. Q-Cells also agreed to no longer pursue measures to collect the bank guarantee. Joint business activities between the two companies remain unchanged.

LDK Solar and Q-Cells have agreed to increase the flexibility of the delivery schedule. Flexible pricing based on market levels and Q-Cells’ preferred customer status will apply for the entire remainder of the contract term. A portion of shipments scheduled in the years 2009 to 2011 have been postponed to the period 2012 to 2018. Q-Cells will receive around 20% in the current year and at least one third of the originally agreed volumes in 2010 and 2011. Q-Cells also has the option to increase these volumes if needed. The total delivery volume for the entire ten-year term of the contract remains unchanged at approximately 6 Giga Watts. In addition to the amendment, the parties have finalized an agreement to expand their cooperation in the areas of cell and module processing. Q-Cells will supply solar cells to LDK Solar on a tolling basis and LDK Solar will supply modules to Q-Cells on the same basis.

About Q-Cells SE

Established in 1999, Q-Cells is one of the biggest photovoltaics companies in the world. In 2008, the company manufactured solar cells and thin-film modules with a total output of 574 Megawatt peak (MWp). At Q-Cells, more than 250 scientists and engineers are working on enhancing the technology in order to achieve the company’s aim: reducing the costs of photovoltaics quickly and permanently, and making the technology affordable and competitive. In addition to the activities in the core business, several subsidiaries of Q-Cells SE have been producing photovoltaic modules based on various thin-film technologies since mid-2008. With Q-Cells International GmbH, the company also plans and develops large photovoltaic systems. The company currently has around 2,600 employees. Q-Cells SE is currently commissioning a production facility in Malaysia, has branches in Hong Kong, China and Japan and is listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange (QCE; ISIN DE0005558662) and in the German technology index TecDAX.

November 23, 2009

China’s LDK posts surprise Q3 profit; shares up

Filed under: LDK, STP, TSL — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jason @ 12:50 pm

Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:50pm EST

* Q3 profit $0.27/ADS vs. est. loss of $0.10/ADS

* Sees sequentially higher shipments in Q4

* Sees Q4 sales above estimates

* Shares up 8.4 pct at $8.67 each

LOS ANGELES, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Chinese solar wafer maker LDK Solar Co Ltd (LDK) reported a surprise third- quarter profit on Monday and forecast better-than-expected fourth quarter sales and sequentially higher shipments, sending its shares up 8 percent in regular trading.

For the fourth quarter, LDK forecast sales between $280 million and $310 million, well above analysts’ estimates of $258.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company also expects higher wafer shipments of between 320 megawatts to 340 MW, compared with the 320.5 MW it shipped in the third quarter.

The company’s surprise profit was due to stronger gross margins and better material costs, as well as nearly $14 million in government subsidies, Needham and Co analyst Edwin Mok said.

“I am incrementally more positive about the company,” Mok added.

But he noted the balance sheet was “still an investor concern.”

LDK ended the third quarter with $1.1 billion in current assets, including $67.8 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $2.45 billion in current liabilities.

“The results are not as good as they appear at first blush,” Soleil Securities analyst Paul Leming said, adding that government grants and subsidies and other items helped the company’s earnings.

“Their level of debt is extremely worrisome. The fact that they still do not have their polysilicon plant up and running is bothersome.”

The solar wafer maker is working to produce its own polysilicon — a key raw material in the solar industry — in order to reduce costs.

(more…)

LDK Solar Reports Financial Results for Third Quarter 2009

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jason @ 7:00 am

7:00 am EST, Monday November 23, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (“LDK Solar”; LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today reported its unaudited financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2009.

All financial results are reported in U.S. dollars on a U.S. GAAP basis.

Recent Highlights:

* Third quarter 2009 revenue was $281.9 million;
* Shipped 320.5 MW of wafers, up 26.8% year-over-year;
* Gross margin for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was 20.1%;
* Net income was $29.4 million, or $0.27 per diluted ADS;
* Increased wafer capacity to 1.7 GW and started pilot production at first 5,000 metric ton (MT) train in 15,000 MT polysilicon plant; and
* Sold a 15% ownership stake in 15,000 MT annualized capacity polysilicon plant to Jiangxi International Trust and Investment Co., Ltd. for RMB1.5 billion (equivalent to approximately US$219 million)

Net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 were $281.9 million, compared to $228.3 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2009, and $541.8 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2009, gross profit was $56.8 million, compared to negative $205.5 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2009, and $122.9 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Gross margin for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was 20.1%, compared to negative 90.0% in the second quarter of fiscal 2009 and 22.7% in the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Income from operations for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was $37.1 million, compared to a loss of $235.0 million for the second quarter of 2009, and compared to income from operations of $107.8 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Operating margin for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was 13.2% compared to negative 102.9% in the second quarter of fiscal 2009 and 19.9% in the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Income tax expense for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was $6.6 million, compared to income tax benefit of $29.5 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2009.

Net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was $29.4 million, or $0.27 per diluted ADS, compared to a net loss of $216.9 million, or $2.03 per diluted ADS for the second quarter of fiscal 2009.

LDK Solar ended the third quarter of 2009 with $67.8 million in cash and cash equivalents and $72.7 million in short-term pledged bank deposits.

“We were pleased to see wafer demand strengthen across multiple geographies during the quarter, rebounding from the lower levels seen earlier this year. Our financial results for the third quarter reflect the recent improvement in the operating environment for the solar industry,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar. “During the third quarter, we continued to take steps to further strengthen our business. In addition to reaching important milestones for ramping our polysilicon production, we made great strides to further diversify and grow our business and improve our operating flexibility by increasing our near-term financial resources, while we continued to closely manage costs.

(more…)

November 20, 2009

LDK Solar Completes Sale of 15% Ownership Stake in its 15,000 MT Polysilicon Plant

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 3:15 am

3:15 am EST, Friday November 20, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today announced that it completed the sale of a 15% ownership stake in its 15,000 metric ton (MT) annualized capacity polysilicon plant to Jiangxi International Trust and Investment Co., Ltd. for RMB1.5 billion. The proceeds from the sale have been received by LDK Solar.

November 17, 2009

LDK Solar sells 15 pct stake in plant for $219 mln

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 5:58 pm

Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:58pm EST

* To sell stake to Jiangxi International Trust

* To use proceeds to strengthen financial position

* Shares up 13 pct in after-hours trade

LOS ANGELES, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Chinese solar wafer maker LDK Solar Co Ltd (LDK) said on Tuesday it agreed to sell a 15 percent stake in its Chinese polysilicon plant to Jiangxi International Trust and Investment Co Ltd for about $219 million, lifting its shares as much as 14 percent after hours.

LDK makes silicon wafers for the solar power industry and is working to ramp up a plant for polysilicon, a prime commodity in the solar industry, as part of its strategy to reduce costs.

Prices for polysilicon and for solar panels have tumbled in the last year.

Needham and Co analyst Edwin Mok said the deal helps LDK “in terms of alleviating their liquidity concerns given that the company’s cash flow is pretty tight on that end.”

Mok said that he does not expect the deal to impact the plant’s operations, but it could signal that the company may sell more stakes in the facility.

Xiaofeng Peng, the company’s chief executive and chairman, said in a statement that the sale would “significantly strengthen our financial position and increase our near-term operating flexibility.”

The news follows the sudden departure in October of the company’s head of manufacturing, who was in charge of ramping up the plant in China.

LDK is also facing a contract dispute with Germany’s Q-Cells, among the world’s largest makers of solar cells, that could prompt other customers to renegotiate their contracts.

Shares of LDK Solar were up 13 percent at $7.59 in trading after the bell. They closed at $6.71 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Laura Isensee in Los Angeles and Arundhati Ramanathan in Bangalore; Editing by Deepak Kannan, Leslie Gevirtz)

LDK Solar Sells 15% Ownership Stake in Its 15,000 MT Polysilicon Plant

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:30 pm

4:30 pm EST, Tuesday November 17, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell a 15% ownership stake in its 15,000 metric ton (MT) annualized capacity polysilicon plant in Xinyu City, China. Jiangxi International Trust and Investment Co., Ltd. has agreed to purchase this interest for approximately RMB1.5 billion (equivalent to approximately US$219 million).

“We are very pleased with the continued support of our business from local financial institutions, as evidenced by this recent development,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar. “Jiangxi International Trust and Investment Co.’s investment in our 15,000 MT polysilicon plant will significantly strengthen our financial position and increase our near-term operating flexibility. We are pleased with the ongoing progress in ramping our 15,000 MT plant and look forward to providing a comprehensive update during our upcoming earnings call.”

About Jiangxi International Trust and Investment Co., Ltd

Jiangxi International Trust and Investment Co., Ltd. is engaged in economic development in Jiangxi Province through the operation of financial trusts, management of enterprise assets restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, project finance, corporate finance, and other intermediary business, on behalf of the custody business, by bank deposit, interbank offered loans, or investment using its own funds, managing the financial lending and other business approved by the People’s Bank.

November 16, 2009

Solar Stocks Rally As Yingli Forecasts Stable Pricing

Filed under: CSIQ, ESLR, FSLR, LDK, SPWR, STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 3:37 pm

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Solar stocks are flying today after some bullish comments Friday on pricing in the solar sector by Yingli Green Energy (YGE) CFO Bryan Li on the company’s Q3 conference call on Friday. Li said he expects Q4 average solar products pricing to be flat to down slightly in Q4 from Q3, with flat to up pricing in Q1 of next year.

Merrill Lynch/Bank of America analyst Lu Yeung wrote in a Friday research note that the ASP forecast “bodes well for the broader industry group.”

Barclays Capital Vishal Shah likewise noted in a report today that the comments from YGE management suggest that “the price war in the solar industry may be temporarily over.” He added that while weather, Germain feed-in-tariff reductions and development of non-German markets will be important in how 2010 plays out, “YGE’s comments increase the prospects of potential upward earnings revisions for the sector in the near term.”

Janney Capital Markets analyst John Roy today upped his rating on on YGE to Buy from Neutral, “as the outlook for pricing and thus margins have improved.” He contends that “Yingli is a major price setter, and they are guiding to a more benign pricing environment in 2010.” He adds that “there is other evidence that prices are beginning to stabilize,” and that the trend should continue.

Ergo, most solar stocks are sharply higher:

* Suntech (STP) is up $1.75, or 12.8%, to $15.47.
* Sunpower (SPWRA) is up 63 cents, or 2.4%, to $27.05.
* Canadian Solar (CSIQ) is up 74 cents, or 4%, to $19.19.
* Yingli is up 54 cents, or 4%, to $13.99.
* First Solar (FSLR) is up $4.74, or 4%, to $123.04.
* Evergreen Solar (ESLR) is up 8 cents, or 5.4%, to $1.56.
* LDK Solar (LDK) is up 58 cents, or 9.1%, to $6.97.

Cheap Solar: Plunging Silicon Gives Asian Solar Companies an Edge, HSBC Says

Filed under: LDK, STP, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 10:37 am

By Keith Johnson
wsj.com

Solar prices have already collapsed, but they still have plenty of room to keep falling. That’s actually good news for the industry—and for Asian solar-power companies in particular, HSBC says in a new report.

Thanks to the glut of polysilicon, prices for solar-power modules have collapsed, falling 50% over the last year, the bank says. Since there’s still a supply glut, prices will keep falling—another 20% by the end of 2010.

The bad news, such as it is, is that falling prices squeeze margins at lots of solar companies, slamming share prices and forcing layoffs.

The good news is that as solar power gets cheaper, demand should pick up after a terrible year. HSBC figures that cheaper silicon makes solar power only two to two-and-a-half times more expensive than traditional power sources, compared with five to six times more expensive just a year ago.

That should spur rapid growth, consolidation, and scale economies—all of which could push the cost of solar power even lower. HSBC renewed its forecast of solar grid parity in some big markets by 2013.

The other big effect of cheaper silicon prices is that it makes the cost of silicon less important and other costs more so—giving an advantage to Asian solar-power players who enjoy advantages in things like labor and manufacturing costs.

HSBC says: “We estimate silicon will account for one-third of module costs by 2011, down from more than two- thirds in 2008. As a result, we believe leaders in downstream non-silicon costs will enjoy higher market share, better margins or both.”

For the investment bank, that means that companies such as Trina Solar (TSL) and Suntech Power (STP) are becoming more attractive. The bank initiated coverage on Trina at “overweight” and upgraded Suntech to “neutral” from “underweight.”

Less attractive? Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and LDK Solar (LDK), both burdened by in-house silicon production. HSBC downgraed Yingli to “underweight” from “overweight” and reiterated LDK’s “underweight” rating.

November 11, 2009

Q-Cells says to draw bank guarantee in LDK row

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 7:40 am

Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:40am EST

* Q-Cells expects sum of $244.5 mln in next days

* Jiangxi court issued civil order to freeze payment -LDK

* Shares in Q-Cells gain as much as 4.9 pct

FRANKFURT, Nov 11 (Reuters) – German solar cell maker Q-Cells said it expects to recover a $244.5 million bank guarantee linked to its recently ended wafer supply contract with Chinese solar company LDK (LDK) within the next few days.

“Q-Cells has already started the draw-down process of the bank guarantee and expects the respective sum to be transferred within the next days,” the German company said in a statement.

Q-Cells, one of the world’s largest makers of solar cells, had made a prepayment of $244.5 million shortly after it signed the contract with LDK in late 2007, when wafer prices were much higher.

This prepayment, secured by a German bank, was reclaimed by Q-Cells last week after it said LDK did not fulfil “significant contractual obligations”.

A Q-Cells spokeswoman declined to identify the German bank.

Shares in Q-Cells rose as much as 4.9 percent after the news and were up 3.2 percent at 1159 GMT.

LDK Solar on Wednesday said a Jiangxi court had issued a civil order freezing any payment of guaranteeing banks, aiming at preventing them from returning the prepayment made by Q-Cells.

“The outpayment of the guaranteed sum by the German bank is … in no way affected by legal decisions in other jurisdictions such as China,” Q-Cells said in a statement.

Q-Cells last week said that an application by LDK for a temporary injunction against the drawing down of the bank guarantee had been rejected by a Berlin court.

“Currently Q-Cells is in negotiations with LDK to find a mutual solution for the existing differences,” Q-Cells said.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt and Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; editing by Simon Jessop)

LDK Solar Announces PRC Court Injunction Against Guarantee Banks From Payments to Q-Cells

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 3:15 am

3:15 am EST, Wednesday November 11, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today announced that, upon its motion, the Superior People’s Court in Jiangxi Province has issued a civil order freezing any payment that may be made by the relevant guarantor/counter-guarantor banks pursuant to the guarantee and/or counter-guarantee issued in connection with the prepayments made by Q-Cells SE. Q-Cells made prepayments in the aggregate amount of US$244.5 million under the solar wafer supply agreement with LDK Solar. The injunctive relief also takes certain other asset preservation actions in aid of execution and will remain effective for a period of six months until May 8, 2010. Separately, LDK Solar has appealed the decision of the Regional Court of Berlin that lifted its preliminary injunction on the drawdown by Q-Cells under the German bank guarantee. LDK Solar is also making arrangements to speed up the ICC arbitration process as permitted and required under the supply agreement for a fair determination on the substance of the dispute over the supply agreement.

Alongside these actions, LDK Solar and Q-Cells have been engaged in negotiations in Europe and Asia with a view toward reaching a mutually agreeable solution to the dispute.

November 2, 2009

Q-Cells ends LDK supply agreement, claims guarantee

Filed under: FSLR, LDK, WFR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 2:51 pm

Mon Nov 2, 2009 2:51pm EST

* Q-Cells to apply to draw on bank guarantee

* LDK disputes Q-Cells claims, says will defend itself

* LDK shares tumble 20 pct; Q-Cells down 2.5 pct

By Christoph Steitz and Laura Isensee

FRANKFURT/LOS ANGELES, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Germany’s Q-Cells ended an agreement with its Chinese solar wafer supplier, LDK Solar (LDK), a sign that the solar industry is continuing to struggle with an oversupply of materials.

Q-Cells, one of the world’s largest makers of solar cells, said on Monday that LDK did not fulfill “significant contractual obligations” in a 10-year agreement to supply wafers to Q-Cells. The companies entered the contract when wafer prices were much higher.

LDK, whose shares dropped 20 percent on Monday, said in a statement that it “vigorously disagrees” with Q-Cells’ claims and plans to defend itself against what it called a wrongful termination.

The move comes as manufacturers of solar cells and panels around the world are struggling with oversupply that has driven down prices and curbed demand.

Prices for polysilicon — a key raw material for the solar industry — and for solar panels have tumbled dramatically in the last year, forcing many players to renegotiate contracts.

“People are coping with oversupply and companies are learning that long-term contracts don’t mean much in a down cycle,” said Oppenheimer & Co analyst Sam Dubinsky.

Q-Cells said in a statement that “the contractual parties have differing opinions concerning the validity of the termination of the agreement” and its plans to reclaim a $244.5 million prepayment it made in 2008 related to the agreement.

“Discussions between the two companies and a parallel arbitration process at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris have not resulted in an amicable settlement yet,” the company added.

(more…)

LDK Solar Comments on Dispute With Q-Cells Relating to Q-Cells’ Termination of Supply Agreement

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:15 pm

2:15 pm EST, Monday November 2, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today commented on Q-Cells SE’s announcement of its unilateral termination of the solar wafer supply agreement concluded with LDK Solar in December 2007. In its announcement, Q-Cells has claimed that LDK Solar has not fulfilled significant contractual obligations under the supply agreement. LDK Solar vigorously disagrees with Q-Cells’ claims.

During rounds of discussions and negotiations, LDK Solar has clearly stated to Q-Cells that it has not only procured feed stock for the manufacturing of the solar wafers under the contract, but has also manufactured the requisite quantities of the solar wafers ready for shipment to Q-Cells at its indication of willingness to accept. LDK Solar made deliveries during the first quarter of 2009 pursuant to purchase orders of Q-Cells under the supply agreement. Subsequent to March 2009, LDK Solar suspended deliveries at the request of Q-Cells in order to engage in various negotiations with Q-Cells in the interest of reaching a mutually agreeable amendment to the supply agreement. During the negotiation process, Q-Cells unilaterally claimed, and has now publicly announced, the termination of the agreement. LDK Solar believes this termination is without any valid basis.

The supply agreement provides for LDK Solar to supply solar wafers to Q-Cells on the basis of contractually fixed amounts of polysilicon totaling 43,000 metric tons for the years from 2009 to 2018, with annual wafer supply quantity for 2009 set at 1,000 metric tons at fixed prices under the supply agreement. At the beginning of 2008, Q-Cells made a prepayment of $244.5 million pursuant to the supply agreement. LDK Solar has also provided a bank guarantee in the same aggregate amount to guarantee the performance of its obligations relating to such prepayment under the supply agreement. LDK Solar firmly believes that it has performed substantially on all of its obligations under the supply agreement, and is ready to perform the additional obligations under the agreement that are currently contingent upon cooperation of Q-Cells, such as its willingness to accept the additional deliveries of LDK Solar’s solar wafers pursuant to the supply agreement. Q-Cells has indicated in its announcement that it may draw down from LDK Solar’s bank guarantee, and LDK Solar believes that such drawdown, if made, constitutes a wrongful drawdown under the supply agreement and violates the purpose of such bank guarantee. While the Regional Court of Berlin, in preliminary proceedings LDK Solar instituted in August 2009, initially prohibited Q-Cells from drawing down from LDK Solar’s bank guarantee, it subsequently lifted the injunction in view of the nature and purpose of a bank guarantee, without deciding whether the termination by Q-Cells was valid and instead leaving the issue to be determined in the arbitration proceedings.

LDK Solar intends to vigorously defend its rights and interests as a result of Q-Cells’ wrongful termination of the supply agreement, breach of the supply agreement and wrongful drawdown from our bank guarantee, including the contractually provided arbitration yet to start at the International Chamber of Commerce.

October 27, 2009

LDK Solar Updates Outlook for the Third Quarter of 2009

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 3:30 am

3:30 am EDT, Tuesday October 27, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today provided an updated outlook for its third quarter 2009 financial results. For the third quarter of 2009, LDK Solar expects to report between $270 million and $290 million in revenue with wafer shipments between 310 megawatts (“MW”) to 330 MW and module shipments between 5 MW to 10 MW. The Company’s prior guidance for the third quarter was revenue of $240 to $270 million, wafer shipments of 260 MW to 300 MW and module shipments of 10 MW to 20 MW.

This outlook for the three months ended September 30, 2009 is an estimate. Results are subject to change based on further review by the management. Once the third quarter reporting date is finalized, LDK Solar will issue a press release announcing the date and details of its third quarter conference call.

October 21, 2009

Enfinity Chooses LDK Solar for Largest Rooftop Solar Energy Installation Project With the Balta Group in Benelux

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , — Jason @ 4:05 pm

4:05 pm EDT, Wednesday October 21, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today announced a supply contract with Enfinity for the largest rooftop solar energy installation project in Benelux (an economic union comprising Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg).

LDK Solar will provide approximately 18,000 solar modules to be installed on the Balta Group’s factory rooftop in Sint-Baafs-Vijve, Belgium. The project will be the largest solar installation project in Benelux, with a capacity of 4.2 MWp (megawatt peak) and total panel surface of over 30,000 square meters. The solar panels will deliver an average power output of 3.6 million kW (kilowatt) hours per year, which is equivalent to the power consumption of approximately 1,200 families.

The Balta Group, a manufacturer of broadloom carpets, rugs and laminate flooring, will be utilizing a portion of the solar energy to power its own business activities, with any surplus flowing back to the public grid. For a 20-year duration of the project, Balta Group will enjoy reduced and more stable power bills, in addition to avoiding producing approximately 34.6 million kilograms in carbon dioxide( )emissions.

Enfinity, an international player in renewable energy, negotiated a 20-year lease for Balta Group’s rooftop space and has already begun installation of this project. Enfinity is utilizing revenue from the energy produced and the Green Energy Certificates from the Flemish Government to fund its participation in this project.

“Balta’s decision to manufacture green energy supports a broader view of sustainability in which the improvement in its energy efficiency and the reduction of CO2( )emission play an important role. As a market leader, we take responsibility to reduce our ecological footprint and contribute to achieving European goals in the area of renewable energy,” commented Jules Noten, CEO of the Balta Group. “We are excited to be working with Enfinity, who brings proven expertise and a track record of speedy execution to this project, as well as LDK Solar, who will provide best-in-class solar modules. Balta has more than 61 hectares of rooftop space in Belgium alone, so there is plenty of potential for additional projects in the future.”

“We are very pleased to partner with Balta and Enfinity for this ambitious project,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar. “As we work diligently to expand our presence in Europe, we are very excited to provide the solar modules for the largest solar rooftop project in Benelux. This four megawatt module shipment also represents a significant milestone for LDK Solar – our first module volume shipment to Europe.”

About Balta Group

The Balta Group is a world leader in interior decoration. The company designs market-oriented, creative collections, including rugs, broadloom carpets and laminate flooring. Balta is a group of complementary businesses that together offer a complete set of decor solutions.

The group includes: Balta Broadloom (Sint-Baafs-Vijve), I.T.C. (Tielt), Balta Rugs (Avelgem, Sint-Baafs-Vijve & Waregem), Balterio (Sint-Baafs-Vijve & Vielsalm), Balta US (Dalton, USA), Balta Floorcovering and Balta Orient (Usak, Turkije).

In 2008, the Balta Group realised consolidated revenue of euro 667 million with a workforce today of 3,350 people.

For more information: http://www.baltagroup.com. Balta Groep – Wakkensteenweg 2 – B-8710 Sint-Baafs-Vijve – Belgium.

About Enfinity

Enfinity, located in Waregem, is a fast-growing and ambitious business, internationally active in renewable energy. As a project specialist, Enfinity looks after the development and financing of in-house solar and wind energy power stations for electricity generation and is currently present in 19 countries in Europe, Asia and North America.

Besides its own project development, Enfinity sells integrated solar installations to companies and individuals. For individuals, this happens through an extensive dealer network which is geographically spread across Flanders and Wallonia.

In 2008 Enfinity had a turn-over of euro 83 million and today Enfinity provides work to more than 150 employees. At the beginning of 2009 Enfinity strengthened its international position with an investment of euro 50 million by Waterland investment company.

Belgian site: http://www.enfinity.be – International site: http://www.enfinity.biz

September 25, 2009

Watch Out: Solar Stocks Might Sink

Filed under: ENER, FSLR, JASO, LDK, SOL, SOLF, STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 8:52 am

By James Altucher

As a financial adviser you have one goal: Don’t lose clients’ money. So even more important than finding stocks that could double or triple over the next year, you want to steer clear of stocks that could collapse.

It’s ugly, it’s painful, and nobody wants to call a client and point out an investment sank 90%.

Over the next two articles I’ll be analyzing a few stocks that fit this category. This is purely my view, of course, and I’d welcome anyone with differing views to use the comments section. (As I say in the comments section, I am not shorting these stocks.)

In general I don’t like the solar industry as an investment opportunity, which includes First Solar (FSLR), Energy Conversion Devices (ENER), JA Solar (JASO), LDK Solar Co. (LDK), Suntech Power (STP), Solarfun Power (SOLF), Yingli Green Energy (YGE), and Rene Sola (SOL).

First Solar, for instance, has been a glam stock for day traders for the past few years as the solar industry had almost as much hype behind it as the dot-com industry back in the heyday.

Let’s look at the macro picture and then the micro picture and you’ll see why this stock could go down 90%.

Macro picture:

Solar power is more expensive than other forms of power: coal, natural gas, nuclear, even wind, so the primary customer for all of the solar companies are the countries where solar power is subsidized with no cap on how high the subsidy could go.

In other words: Germany, which is the only such country. Spain tried it, but it was too expensive, so they began to cap the subsidy and as a result the solar industry is now one-fifth the size in Spain that it was when the subsidy was in place.

In fact, approximately 60% of First Solar’s revenue comes from sales to Germany.

(more…)

September 24, 2009

Solar Power: Finally, A Reason to Invest Says HSBC

Filed under: LDK, STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:07 pm

By Keith Johnson

After being relentlessly negative about the solar industry since the summer of 2008, investment bank HSBC is starting to warm up to the sector again.

A ray of hope

The upshot: The worst of the solar sector’s woes may be behind us. That doesn’t mean the good times are here yet—but it does open the door to selective investments in companies that can weather the three years of so of storms that still lie ahead, the bank says in a new report.

The thesis of “Global Solar Power: Solar Eclipsed?” is straightforward: The supply glut that has plagued the sector all year will persist until 2012. That will keep pushing prices down—bad news for corporate profits, good news for the sector as a whole as it becomes more competitive with traditional sources of power generation.

HSBC’s winners include Yingli Green Power (YGE), Sharp, Solar World, and REC. The bank doesn’t care as much for Suntech Power (STP) and LDK (LDK), among many others.

What’s really interesting about HSBC’s new report is how solar power stacks up today against other ways of generating electricity—it doesn’t. That is, all the other power-generation technologies are in roughly the same neighborhood, even wind power—but not solar.

For instance, HSBC estimates costs per megawatt for different options: Combined-cycle gas, 43 euros; regular coal, 62 euros; onshore wind, 58 euros; nuclear power, 48 euros; geothermal, 43 euros. Photovoltaic solar power costs 290 euros per megawatt; concentrated solar power 181 euros.

Or put another way: What price would oil or gas have to be for each technology to be break-even without subsidies, using combined-cycle gas turbines as the low-cost yardstick?

Geothermal is the cheapest: It is competitive with natural gas at $5.16 per million BTUs or oil at $57 a barrel. Nuclear power breaks even at $6.26 and $69.

Traditional, onshore wind power breaks even with gas at $8.33 or oil at $92. Offshore wind still needs a push: It requires gas at $17.14 or oil at $189.

In contrast, solar thermal needs to see natural gas at $35.66 or oil at $393. And good old photovoltaic solar, like the kind on rooftops? Natural gas needs to be at $59.61 or oil at $657 a barrel.

Quick reality check: Gas today is at $3.93 and oil is at $66.

That’s not to say there’s no hope for solar power. There’s always the government.

Thanks to price supports, HSBC expects solar power to reach retail “grid parity” in some places—California and New York—as soon as next year. That means solar power will generate electricity that’s competitive with what you pay on your bill every month. It will take another five years or so for solar to reach wholesale grid parity—when it becomes a no-brainer investment for big utilities.

September 22, 2009

A Power Surge for GT Solar?

Filed under: LDK, SOLR, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 7:27 pm

Some analysts think the stock is a giveaway, given GT Solar’s No. 1 place in the silicon solar equipment market, its hefty order backlog, and strong balance sheet

By Gene Marcial

Whenever the subject of solar energy comes up, analysts invariably express concerns about the challenges that confront the industry. Indeed, solar-related stocks are mostly trading below their 52-week highs, as the housing slump weakened demand for solar wafers or panels. And the financial crisis also restricted the flow of credit for housing and solar energy projects.

However, it may well be a good time for investors to catch some rays. Attractive opportunities could arise in selected solar companies as demand should come back with the economic recovery. Also benefiting the solar sector are the various tax breaks and low-interest loans the government is currently providing as part of salvaging the beleaguered housing industry.

One outfit some analysts consider undervalued, with perhaps one of the stronger balance sheets in the solar segment, is GT Solar International (SOLR), the world’s largest provider of specialized manufacturing equipment and services essential for the production of photovoltaic wafers, solar cells, modules, and polysilicon.

GT Solar went public on July 23, 2008, as the financial crisis and economic downturn were gathering steam. Its initial offering price was 16.50 a share, but the stock has wilted since, closing at 6 a share on Sept. 22.

At that price, some analysts say the stock is a giveaway.

High-quality Polysilicon Shortage

Analyst Theodore O’Neill of investment firm Kaufman Bros. says GT Solar is undervalued because it is still No. 1 in the silicon solar equipment market, with a hefty order backlog worth $1 billion.

“Shares of GT Solar trade on orders for new equipment and those orders are starting to go up,” says O’Neill, who rates the stock a buy with a 12-month target price of 9.

(more…)

September 21, 2009

LDK Solar Certifies Applied Materials’ HCT MaxEdge Wire Saws for High Volume Production of Solar Wafers

Filed under: AMAT, LDK — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 3:15 am

Monday September 21, 2009, 3:15 am EDT

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd . (LDK), a leading manufacturer of solar wafers, has qualified Applied Materials’ (AMAT) HCT MaxEdge(TM) wire saws for volume production, certifying that the system has met all performance and quality specifications. The successful completion of this factory acceptance testing (FAT) is part of the installation of more than 50 MaxEdge systems at LDK Solar that is due to be finished next month.

“We selected Applied’s MaxEdge wafering systems because of their industry-leading productivity and capability to produce advanced solar wafers in very high volumes,” stated Dr. Yuepeng Wan, CTO of LDK Solar. “This new generation of Applied’s HCT wire saws has now proven it can deliver the repeatable high yields necessary to deliver superior quality, cost-effective wafers to our customers. In addition, LDK has received excellent on-site support from Applied’s engineers during our aggressive ramp.”

“We are very pleased that the MaxEdge system has passed this important milestone at LDK Solar,” said Dr. Mark Pinto, senior vice president, corporate CTO and general manager of Applied’s Energy and Environmental Solutions group. “LDK Solar is known for its advanced wafer production capability and Applied Materials is committed to providing leading-edge technology and service to meet the most critical performance, yield and uptime requirements to drive down the cost per watt of solar electricity.”

September 17, 2009

China Feed-In-Tariff Could Be 2 Years Away

Filed under: CSIQ, FSLR, LDK, STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:43 pm

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

It could be two years or more before China adopts a national feed-in-tariff program, Hapoalim Securities analyst Gordon Johnson writes in a research note.

Johnson points out that there have been widespread expectations on the Street that China would adopt a national FIT during 2009. But he notes that an official with the Energy Research Institute at China’s National Development and Reform Commission apparently told a reporter at a conference in Shanghai that it will take at least two years to decided on a national FIT policy. Johnson refers to a Chinese-language Web story dated Tuesday; here is an English version, via Google Translate. Johnson says the comments came from Hu Runqing (you will notice that the translation garbles the name) who in fact has a Web page on the NDRC’s English language site. I’ve e-mailed her seeking comment, and will follow up with any response.

Anyway, Johnson notes that a number of solar companies – including Yingli (YGE), Suntech (STP), Canadian Solar (CSIQ), LDK Solar (LDK) and First Solar (FSLR) – have recently announced large solar projects in China that are least partially dependent on adoption of a national feed-in-tariff.  Those companies, which benefited from the announcement of their new China projects, now ought to warn investors that the projects face delays, Johnson asserts.

Johnson – a long-time bear on the solar sector – believes that this situation poses risks to the solar stocks, given that a 2-year delay for adoption of an FIT in China “contrasts with the current thinking from investors and solar companies alike.”

In today’s trading:

* Suntech is down 64 cents, or 3.7%, to $16.62.
* Canadian Solar is up 10 cents, or 0.6%, to $17.45. (See also the upgrade today from Collins Stewart.)
* LDK Solar is down 20 cents, or 2.1%, to $9.38.
* First Solar is up $4.17, or 2.8%, to $151.16. (See also the bullish comments today from Barclays.)

September 9, 2009

LDK Solar Completes First Polysilicon Production Run at 15,000 MT Polysilicon Plant

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 3:15 am

Wednesday September 9, 2009, 3:15 am EDT

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today announced that it has successfully completed the first production run and initiated production ramp-up of operations of its first 5,000 metric ton (MT) train in its 15,000 MT annualized capacity polysilicon plant in Xinyu, China on September 5, 2009.

A ceremony was held to mark the occasion and was attended by Mr. Su Rong, Secretary of the Jiangxi Provincial Party Committee, Mr. Wu Xinxiong, Governor of Jiangxi, and other government officials. Customers, suppliers and members of LDK Solar’s polysilicon project team were also present to celebrate this important achievement.

“We are pleased to successfully complete of our first production run and begin to ramp manufacturing at our state-of-the-art 15,000 MT polysilicon plant. The construction of this facility has been an unprecedented undertaking for many of us in attendance. This achievement is thanks to our international teamwork and collaboration efforts,” commented Nick Sarno, Senior VP of Manufacturing and Polysilicon Plant Project Manager. Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar, also congratulated and thanked the team for their contributions to achieving this goal.

September 8, 2009

LDK Solar to Cooperate with Best Solar on Downstream PV Projects

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 3:15 am

Tuesday September 8, 2009, 3:15 am EDT

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today announced it has entered into a framework agreement with Best Solar Co., Ltd. (Best Solar) to cooperate on downstream photovoltaic (PV) projects. Under terms of the agreement, LDK Solar will supply the solar wafers and Best Solar will manufacture the solar modules.

“Although we have established a PV engineering company to construct solar power stations in and outside China, we have not yet engaged in any substantial downstream PV businesses, such as solar cell or module manufacturing, solar panel assembly or provision of certain solar utility services,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO. “Best Solar, on the other hand, is a large manufacturer of solar modules and a significant provider of solar panel solutions. Additionally, Best Solar is in possession of the relevant product certifications in several jurisdictions. In order to take advantage of the opportunities created by the latest PRC government policies to financially support the construction and operation of PV power stations in China, LDK Solar and Best Solar have agreed to cooperate with each other, by taking advantage of our respective complementary strengths in the different sectors of the PV industry, in order to achieve mutually beneficial results under the current market conditions.”

Best Solar is wholly owned by LDK New Energy Holding Limited, which is LDK Solar’s controlling shareholder, and wholly owned by Mr. Xiaofeng Peng, chairman and chief executive officer of LDK Solar. Best Solar has agreed to provide the solar manufacturing services to LDK Solar at comparable pricing to independent third parties for similar quantity and quality.

About Best Solar

Best Solar Co., Ltd. is one of the world’s largest solar panel solution providers for both thin film and crystal solar modules. The company has two sites, Best Solar SuZhou and Best Solar NanChang, which are designed to produce thin film solar panels as well as crystalline solar panels in phases. The Company’s partnership with the leading solar equipment provider Applied Materials and other major equipment suppliers allows Best Solar to use the most advanced technology in the thin film as well as the crystal solar market. In additional to the thin film product, the Company provides a whole spectrum of products that cover all of the most popular multicrystalline and monocrystalline modules in market place. By providing both thin film and crystal solar panel solutions in large volume, Best Solar is uniquely positioned to ensure its customers success in their competitive market places.

September 4, 2009

Solar crisis set to hit in 2010

Filed under: ENER, JASO, LDK, SOL, SOPW, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 10:00 am

50% of manufacturers may not survive, says The Information Network

Michael McManus, DIGITIMES, Taipei [Friday 4 September 2009]

The solar industry is at a critical stage and 50% of existing solar manufacturers may not survive 2010, according to The Information Network.

The market research firm recently noted massive inventory buildup and huge overcapacity were having a serious impact on the solar panel industry and manufacturers, and Dr. Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network has now pointed out that inventory is averaging 122 days in 2009 versus 71 days in 2008. Capacity utilization dropped to 27.9% in 2009 from 48.0% in 2008.

A key reason is increased supply from China, which added an additional 1GW of capacity. The price per watt has now dropped to US$1.80 for polysilicon-based products, which is lower than the US$1.85 level The Information Network previously thought the industry would see at the end of 2009. By way of comparison, the average selling price in the third quarter of 2008 was US$4.05 per watt.

The Information Network doesn’t expect other industry players to back down from increased competition from China. Other makers are expected to increase their capacities despite the low utilization rates in order to reach economies of scale and better compete against the Chinese. The market research firm expects the industry to see a 25.7% capacity utilization rate and 133 days inventory in 2010.

Average selling prices could drop below US$1 per watt in 2010 and US$0.50 in 2011. As many as 50% of the more than 200 solar manufacturers, mired in red ink with current selling prices above US$2.00 per watt, may not survive, The Information Network stated.

Solar panel manufacturers that have reported loses just in the past few weeks include Energy Conversion Devices (ENER), JA Solar (JASO), LDK Solar (LDK), Q-Cells, ReneSola (SOL), Solar Power (SOPW), and Yingli Green Energy Holding (YGE).

The Information Network: Planned global solar capacity increases, 2008-2010
Item 2008 2009 2010
Solar consumption (MW) 5,625 4,894 6,215
Solar capacity (MW) 11,722 17,551 24,212
Utilization 48.0% 27.9% 25.7%
Inventory days 71 122 133

Source: The Information Network, compiled by Digitimes, September 2009

September 3, 2009

Spain’s Solar-Power Collapse Dims Subsidy Model

Filed under: FSLR, JASO, LDK, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:37 am

By ANGEL GONZALEZ and KEITH JOHNSON

Spain’s hopes of becoming a world leader in solar power have collapsed since the Spanish government slammed the brakes on generous subsidies.

The sudden change has rippled across the global solar industry, in a warning of the problems that government-supported renewable-energy programs can encounter.

In 2008, Spain accounted for half the world’s new solar-power installations in terms of wattage, thanks to government subsidies to promote clean energy. But late last year, as the global economic crisis worsened, the government dramatically scaled back those subsidies and capped the amount of subsidized solar power that could be installed.

Factories world-wide that had ramped up production of solar-power components found that demand for solar panels was plummeting, leaving a glut in supply and pushing prices down. Job cuts followed.

“The solar industry in 2009 has been undermined by [a] collapse in demand due to the decision by Spain,” says Henning Wicht, a solar-power analyst at research group iSuppli.

Spain is providing important lessons for the U.S., where lawmakers are engaged in a debate about how to support renewable energy. Boosters of clean energy, including President Barack Obama, have pointed to Spain as a success story showing how government policies jump-started renewable energy, created new industries, and helped the environment.

Spain’s early bet on wind power paid off: The country is one of the world leaders in generating such power, only recently eclipsed by the U.S. Spanish wind-power companies have become global players. In 2008, wind power accounted for 11% of Spanish electricity production, compared to less than 1% for solar power.

Reyad Fezzani, chief executive of BP Solar, a unit of oil giant BP PLC (BP), said that despite the current crisis, the Spanish model succeeded in creating a solar industry from scratch. “Once you pay for the infrastructure, you have a skilled work force and you can expand and contract very easily,” he said.

Clean-energy skeptics, however, point to Spain as a cautionary tale of a government policy that created a speculative bubble with disastrous consequences. Some Republicans have cited Spain’s solar bubble and bust as an example of how unsustainable government clean-energy pushes are.

(more…)

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