STR Holdings (NYSE: STRI) became the first solar company in more than a year to go public, but its debut on Friday hasn't wowed investors.
The Enfield, Conn., company priced its stock at $10 per share, lower than the $11 to $13 range it had anticipated just a day earlier. Two weeks ago, the company had expected the range to fall between $13 and $15 per share.
Halfway into the first-day trading, STR's shares have inched up $10.82 per share. UPDATE: The shares rose 31 percent to close at $13.10 per share Friday.
STR made its debut on the day when the U.S. government reported a greater job cut in October than economists had anticipated. The unemployment rate has surpassed 10 percent for the first time since 1983.
Construction, manufacturing and retail sectors saw the biggest job losses last month. The bad news has caused major indexes to fall, and raised questions about whether the U.S. economy is recovering as well as some had thought.
Could it dampen investors' appetite for greentech IPOs?
Watertown, Mass.-based A123 Systems (NSDQ: AONE), a lithium-ion battery maker gunning for the plug-in hybrid car market, carried out a successful IPO recently. It went public in September and saw its stock jump 50 percent during the first day of trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.
A123's shares fell about 5 percent to reach $16.75 per share in recent trading
Aside from STR, another solar company recently filed papers to go public. Trony Solar, an amorphous-silicon thin film maker in China, is hoping to raise up to $200 million an initial public offering in the United States.
STR has put 12.3 million shares up for sale, and expects to close the offering on Nov. 12, the company said. Of the 12.3 million shares, 3.3 million are being offered by the company and the 9 million are coming from stockholders.
The company will not get any proceeds from sales by those stockholders, who include members of the STR's board of directors and other executives, as well as an affiliate of Credit Suisse Securities.
The underwriters have an option to buy an additional 1.84 million shares from those stockholders.
STR has been around since 1944 and makes encapsulants that are sold under the brand PhotoCap. The encapsulants are used to protect solar cells inside panels from moisture and other elements.
The materials developer said it was the first to develop ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA) encapsulant for solar panel manufacturing in the 1970s, with help from researchers of what was then the predecessor to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The protective layers play a big role in making sure the solar panels could last for more than two decades. Solar panel makers typically provide warranties for 20 to 25 years.
The company, led by CEO Dennis Jilot, also provides quality testing, audit and inspection services to retailers, raw material makers and manufacturers.
STR sold about 2.5 gigawatts' worth of encapsulants in 2008, the company said. That gave it a 36 percent share of the global market, said STR.