Suntech exceeds 2010 targets; positive about coming year

Although the Chinese company believes PV shipments will be relatively flat in the first quarter of 2011 (Q1 2011) in comparison to Q4 2010, its outlook for the year as a whole is positive.

Suntech explains that due to the integration of wafer manufacturing capacity, consolidated gross margin in Q1 2011 is expected to increase to approximately 20 percent; for the full year, it is expected to be around 20 to 22 percent.

Furthermore, the company forecasts that it will achieve 2.4 GW of installed cell and module production capacity by the end of the year, while it hopes to reach 1.2 GW of installed wafer capacity. For the full year, capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of $250 million to $270 million.

Positive progress

In terms of Q4 2010 total net revenues, Suntech reached $945.1 million, which represents sequential growth of 27.1 percent and 61.9 percent year-over-year. For the whole of 2010, this figure reached $2,901.9 million, thus representing 71.4 percent growth year-over-year.

Meanwhile, total PV shipments in Q4 2010 increased 19.8 percent sequentially and 87.3 percent year-over-year. For the year as a whole, they hit a total of 1,572 megawatts (MW), or 124.5 percent growth year-over-year.

Gross profit margin for the core wafer to module business in Q4 2010 was 17.4 percent and consolidated gross profit margin was 16.2 percent. For the year, these figures hit 18.6 percent and 17.4 percent respectively.

The company adds that it achieved 1.8 GW of PV cell and module capacity, and 500 MW of silicon ingot and wafer capacity as of December 31, 2010.

"2010 was another landmark year for Suntech and the solar industry," comments Zhengrong Shi, chairman and CEO. "We surpassed our shipment and revenue targets by setting new solar industry records for both quarterly and annual solar panel shipments.

"The opportunities ahead of us have never been greater. We are confident that our investments in our global sales channels, integrated manufacturing capabilities and technology initiatives will expand our position as the global market leader."