Ascent Solar figures hit by government delays


It is seldom good news when there are no figures mentioned in the ‘highlights’ section of a company’s trading update and Peyton Manning’s reliability is arguably as good as it gets for Colorado-based Ascent Solar at the moment.

The fact Ascent lists an advertising and branding agreement with American football team the Denver Broncos as a croporate highlight will probably do little to bolster a flagging share price for the thin film CIGS manufacturer.

With a 7-1 record, the Broncos are not doing too shabbily on the field but their new sponsors revealed yesterday, in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), third-quarter net losses of $6.5 million.

Although that figure has come in from the $7.1 million lost in the second quarter – and from $6.4 million in the year-on-year comparison – Ascent will have to shift a lot more of its lightweight EnerPlex brand of consumer electronics products before it can start thinking about recording a profit and needs to break out of its Colorado market – although introducing the EnerPlex brand to the UK and Ireland during the three-month period is a step in the right direction.

More promisingly, the company announced plans for a joint venture with the local government of Suqian, China, to fund a production facility in Suqian, although no firm dates were given for the project.

Ascent’s third quarter revenues shrank to $275,000 from $556,000 in the same period of 2012 as the nine-month figure came in from $1.2 million to $735,000 although the revenue stats were presented as a rise in ‘product revenues’ from $166,000 to $268,000, quarter on quarter.

The overall revenue figure was hit by delays in U.S. government R&D contracts, which came in from $82,000 for January-to-October 2012 to just $8,300 this quarter, presumably hit by the Capitol Hill shutdown last month.

With R&D expenses climbing from $15 million in the opening three quarters of 2012 to $16.2 million for the same period this year and a quarterly $3.7 million hit from ‘deemed dividends on preferred stock and accretion of warrants’, shareholders were left facing a net loss of $10.1 million for the latest quarter and $24.3 million for the year so far, compared with losses of $6.4 million and $17.9 million, respectively, for the 2012 equivalents.

That might need more than a Superbowl victory to turn around.