Suntech Power Holdings is now the largest solar panel manufacturer by revenue. Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's Chairman and CEO, led this morning's second quarter earnings call.  Here are the highlights:

  • Suntech total net revenues for the second quarter of 2010 came in at $625.1 million. Net loss of $174.9 million mostly due to one-time impairments.
  • Gross margin was expected to be in the range of 17.5 percent to 18.5 percent and came in at 18.2 percent. Revenue and margin were in line with guidance Suntech issued in early August.
  • The firm is increasing capacity to 1.8 gigawatts by end of 2010
  • 2010 shipment targets increased from 1.3 to 1.5 gigawatts, a growth year-on-year of 113 percent.
  • ASPs look to be fairly stable, with a small decrease in Q3 and stable in Q4.
  • Non-silicon costs were reduced by .04 to 52 cents per watt with relatively flat silicon wafer costs.
  • Andrew Beebe was promoted to chief commercial officer in charge of global sales.
  • The firm saw a Q2 acceleration in demand in North America.  CSI  applications are up 250 percent year-over-year with 15 percent slated to use Suntech panels. Back in March, CMO Steve Chan said the company wanted to triple North American sales, so Suntech seems to be on track.
  • Their high-efficiency (19 percent) Pluto output increased from 4 megawatts to 6 megawatts per month.  Shi considered this a small volume but able to command a 15 percent price premium.
  • Q3 is expected to see growth quarter-on-quarter of 15 to 20 percent with growth margin in mid to high teens.
  • As covered by Michael Kanellos, Suntech has ceased the manufacture of amorphous silicon thin-film solar panels. As a result, Suntech expects to incur a thin film equipment non-cash impairment charge of approximately $54.6 million in the second quarter of 2010.

Commenting on the charges, Dr. Shi said, "While the thin film-related and Shunda-related charges will significantly impact our second quarter financial results, they have no bearing on our core manufacturing operations, which are performing very well."