Spire posts Q1 loss of $2.6 million, 57% drop in sales


The Massachusetts-based company reported a net loss between January and March of $2.6 million compared to a net profit of $3.4 million in the first three months of 2012. Spire’s first quarter results last year included income from discontinued operations, such as the company’s semiconductor business unit, which it sold in March 2012.

Spire’s business operations include capital equipment and turn-key manufacturing lines for the production of PV modules and engineering, procurement and construction services for solar as well as biomedical processing systems.

"The solar industry continued to experience a severe slowdown in manufacturing expansion driven by sustained worldwide overcapacity," said Spire Chairman and CEO Roger G. Little.

There is evidence of some growth in PV systems on a global basis, but the continued oversupply of PV modules has resulted in a dramatic reduction in demand for PV manufacturing equipment, which is expected to continue until the module supply/demand disparity is resolved, Little added.

Spire’s chief executive said there was virtually no expansion of current module manufacturers to absorb existing equipment in inventory. "In addition, we are seeing many module manufacturers going out of business, resulting in a flood of used equipment on the market."

The group is implementing significant cost reduction efforts, looking to expand revenue in other solar markets and identifying potential strategic alternatives to mitigate the decline in revenue as a result of global economic conditions, Little said.

Spire recently won a contract to install a 228 kW PV system in Connecticut and last year installed a 2 MW PV system at Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

"The company believes the growth potential in this vertical market can partially offset the reduction in the solar equipment segment," Little added.