GT Solar raises 2012 fiscal guidance after successful year

Having completed a successful 2011 fiscal year, GT Solar, which provides polysilicon production technology, and sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems, says it has raised its fiscal 2012 revenue guidance from between USD$850 million to $1 billion, to a range of $1 billion to $1.1 billion.

In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, the company achieved revenues of $271.6 million. This is in comparison to the previous quarter’s $262.9 million, and $194.7 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. For the full year, it reaped revenues of $899 million. This represents a growth of 65 percent over fiscal year 2010, which saw revenues of $544.2 million.

Broken down into business segments, photovoltaics reaped the lion’s share of revenues at $186 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, while polysilicon represented $79.2 million. Meanwhile, $6.4 million was achieved in the sapphire segment. (Note: All revenues relate to sapphire materials.)

In terms of the full year, the photovoltaics arm of the company’s operations earned $740.1 million, polysilicon netted $143.6 million and $15.3 million was achieved in the sapphire segment. Again, all of these figures were sapphire materials revenue.

While revenues increased, GT Solar’s gross profits took a small sequential tumble. Having reaped $122.1 million, or 46.4 percent of revenue in the third quarter of fiscal 2011, the company’s gross profit fell to $116.9 million, or 43 percent of revenue in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.

However, its gross profit did see a year-on-year increase, from $73.1 million, or 37.5 percent of revenue in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. In terms of gross margins, the company expects to be in the range of 42 to 44 percent for the full fiscal year 2012.

Operating margin also experienced a quarter-on-quarter decrease. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, the company achieved an operating margin of 30.5 percent of revenue, in comparison to 36.1 percent of revenue in the third quarter of fiscal 2011. Again, however, year-on-year margins increased from 28.4 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010.

And, in terms of the full fiscal year 2011, it increased 30.4 percent, compared with 26.5 percent in fiscal 2010.

While GT Solar’s net income grew significantly from $33.3 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 to hit 51.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, it did experience a sequential decline from the third quarter of fiscal 2011 of $11.7 million.

Order backlog, as of April 2, 2011, was $1.19 billion. Of this, the photovoltaics segment represents $468.1 million, polysilicon $468.1 million and $184.2 million in the sapphire segment.

Net new orders for the quarter, meanwhile, were $234.2 million, which included $14.7 million in polysilicon, $125.1 million in photovoltaics and $94.4 million in sapphire.

"Our strong fourth quarter performance caps an outstanding year for GT and its shareholders," commented Tom Gutierrez, president and chief executive officer. "We achieved record revenues in fiscal year 2011 on 65 percent year-over-year growth and we more than doubled our earnings per share.

"This fiscal year, we shipped a record number of DSS furnaces to maintain our strong market position in the PV sector of our business. In our polysilicon business we saw increased activity that we believe provides the basis for continued growth in fiscal year 2012 and beyond."