LDK Solar upped its revenue guidance Tuesday in response to allegations of discrepancies in its silicon inventory reporting.
The Xinyu City, China,-based company (NYSE: LDK) said revenue for the third quarter would be between $140 million and $150 million. It previously had given a range of $115 million to $125 million.
Either set of revenue numbers would have represented growth from the $73.4 million in sales LDK reported in the first quarter, the last quarter reflected in the company’s prospectus before LDK went public in May.
As we previously indicated, we believe that there is no merit in the allegations made about our inventory accounting practices, our business operations are normal and we continue making shipments to fulfill our customers’ orders," CEO Xiaofeng Peng said in a statement.
The company faces allegations from Charley Situ, a former financial controller at LDK, of inconsistencies in the company’s silicon inventory (see LDK Says Inventory Discrepancy Allegations Have ‘No Merit’). The company denied any wrongdoing, but said it does count materials that some consider unusable, expecting to be able to use them someday (see New Details Surface as LDK’s Stock Continues to Plunge).
Shareholders were clearly happy with the company’s new revenue figures.
LDK shares rose 23.9 percent to $46.46 per share Monday after a 51.45 percent free fall from a peak of $76.75 per share on Sept. 27.
"Indeed [the stock] had room to climb after the recent knockdown," said Robert Wilder, CEO of WilderShares, which manages three energy indices.
But analysts said strong third-quarter revenue has little to do with the inventory allegations.
"Their inventory wouldn’t impact their revenue numbers, but it might impact their margins," said Travis Bradford, president of the Prometheus Institute, which is a Greentech Media Research partner. "Volumes are growing, so revenue numbers are going to look really good, but [margins are] really important to the trajectory of profitability."
Bradford said the stock gain, just like the previous stock fall, says as much about the state of the market as a whole as it does about one company’s issues.
"These companies have grown so fast that it’s the usual iceberg theory - if there’s one problem like this that you can see, how many are below the surface that you can’t?" he said. "That’s where I think a lot of this anxiety has come from."
Investors also might think 50 percent was too low for the stock to drop based on a single news item, he said.
"Really, this has to do more with speculation than with real market fundamentals," he said. "This is what a frothy market is all about."
Wilder said the stock’s bounce upward shows that investors are still hungry for solar stocks.
Just four years ago, he was "grasping" to find large-enough solar companies while trying to put together his first clean-energy index. Now, these solar companies have market caps in the billions, he said.
"You could say investors simply have an appetite today for solar that allows them to say, despite a high PE ratio - a speculative ratio - these stocks are going to make money ahead," he said.
Still, investors are notoriously fickle.
While they like LDK today, many are anxiously waiting a report based on an independent audit expected to come out soon.
Whatever the result, good or bad, it’s sure to have another heavy impact on trading.