BTU International warns of PV equipment shipments on hold

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Module overcapacity among weak demand dynamics in key markets has caused at least one customer of BTU International to put equipment ordered on hold. Planned capacity expansions are being revised for customers, according to the c-Si solar cell equipment supplier, forcing it to also lower its sales expectations for the short-term.

“The solar industry is presently going through what we believe to be a short-term cycle,” remarked Paul J. van der Wansem, BTU chairman and CEO. “The industry is absorbing a significant amount of capacity additions, coupled with uncertainty about feed-in tariffs in Europe. We believe that inventory levels are higher than expected, leading to price pressure for solar panels. Accordingly, we have lowered our short term expectations for the rate of capacity expansion in silicon-based solar cells. We remain bullish on the medium and long term outlook.

BTU reported first quarter net sales of US$25.4 million, down 7% compared to US$27.4 million in the preceding quarter, but up 48% compared to US$17.2 million for the same quarter a year ago.

Net income stood at US$1.8 million, compared to a net income of $2.2 million, in the preceding quarter.

“Our outlook for the second quarter of 2011 is being strongly influenced by the timing of shipments to one of our major solar customers. This customer has advised its suppliers that equipment deliveries have been put on hold. We expect that the terms of the order will be met in the very near future with shipments starting in the third or fourth quarter of this year. The delay in the execution of this order relates to a major part of the in-line diffusion equipment orders we announced this past January,” said van der Wansem.

“Excluding the potential impact of this delay, we are on plan for a revenue level similar to our first quarter. However, a delay in planned shipments to this major customer could reduce second quarter revenues to a level of US$17 to US$18 million. The timing of shipments of this order might affect our overall rate of growth for this year,” he concluded.
 

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