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Management at Applied Materials spent little time discussing the performance of its Energy and Environmental Solutions (EES) division results, which houses the majority of its solar sector equipment and services to the PV industry. The company reported EES sales in its financial third quarter that were almost flat with the previous quarter at US$77 million. However, new orders decreased significantly to only US$35 million, compared to US$62 million in the prior quarter.
Inventory write-downs (US$26 million) and restructuring charges of its EES division helped Applied produce a non-GAAP operating loss of US$64 million, up from US$57 million in the previous quarter. Non-GAAP operating losses from its EES Division for the current financial year have topped US$138 million.
Michael Splinter, chairman and CEO said in a conference call to discuss results that the company’s “EES results reflect an environment of extremely cautious investment by our customers as they focus on conserving cash.”
Management also acknowledged that the downturn in capital spending due to industry overcapacity had been longer and deeper than previously expected. Concern was also raised over the lack of speed in the industry consolidation process, a prerequisite for a spending recovery.
Applied Materials guided EES sales in the financial fourth quarter to be down from 10% to 30%, as the timing of the solar equipment recovery remained uncertain.