SunPower No.2 US solar panel maker
By Arathy S Nair
Aug 9 (Reuters) – SunPower Corp, the No. 2 U.S. solar panel maker, said on Tuesday it now expects to report a loss in 2016 and cut its adjusted revenue forecast, sending its shares plummeting as much as 31 percent in after-hours trading.
SunPower also said it would cut about 1,200 jobs, or about 15 percent of its workforce, as its realigns its power plant business and manufacturing operations.
The company, majority owned by French energy giant Total SA, said it now expects to post a loss of $25 million to $175 million. It had earlier forecast to at least break even or a profit of up to $50 million.
SunPower cut its full-year revenue forecast to $3 billion to$3.2 billion from $3.2 billion to $3.4 billion and said it expects to deploy fewer projects and modules in terms of gigawatts.
The company develops and sells large-scale solar projects and provides related services in its power plant business. Revenue in the business tumbled 12.6 percent to $144.9 million in the second quarter.
The business was hit after U.S. lawmakers late last year extended federal tax credits, which boost residential and commercial solar installations, beyond 2016. That reduced customers’ urgency to complete new projects this year, SunPower said.
Prices of power purchase agreements have also trended lower due to increasing competition, especially from Chinese solar companies. The prices may not drop any lower but may not trend higher either, Chief Executive Tom Werner told Reuters.
“I’d be surprised if it went any lower … I don’t think there will be a significant uptick but I think it will rationalize and stabilize over few quarters,” said Werner.
He also said that he would reduce his cash salary and bonus to $1 for the rest of 2016.
The company expects the realignment and job cuts to result in restructuring charges of $30 million to $45 million, mostly in the current quarter.
SunPower also said it will reduced its remaining minority stake in a solar project in California to 8point3 Energy Partners LP, a joint venture between SunPower and First Solar.
SunPower’s quarterly net loss attributable to shareholders was $70 million, or 51 cents per share, compared with a profit of $6.5 million, or 4 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, it lost 22 cents per share. Adjusted revenue rose 6.7 percent to $401.8 million.
Analysts had expected a loss of 24 cents per share and revenue of $345.08 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Bernard Orr)