GT Solar 3Q earnings top $250m

GT Solar sales for the last quarter? More than a quarter of a billion dollars. And a billion dollars is what it expects to begin earning annually in a couple of years.The Merrimack-based maker of equipment and supplies for the manufacture of solar cells and LED devices is regularly hitting new highs in its stock price and also keeps breaking its own records for sales and earnings, and raising the bar by increasing its guidance.The company reported that, during the third quarter of its 2011 fiscal year, the company reported sales of $262.9 million, 51 percent more than the same quarter of the previous year. That boosts revenue for to $627.4 million so far this year, and GT Solar is now predicting it will finish off fiscal 2011 with somewhere between $835 million and $860 million in earnings. The previous estimate was between $775 million and 850 million.With a backlog of $1.23 billion, the company said it expects sales to increase in fiscal 2012 from $850 million to an even billion dollars.Those numbers brought some attention to a firm that has only been trading publicly less than three years. But it’s not sales that put money in the pocket of shareholders — it’s earnings.GT Solar’s net income last quarter was $63.6 million, or 46 cents a share, was 73 percent more than it was in the third quarter of 2010. That brings earnings for fiscal year 2011 to $122.9 million, more than double for the first three quarters of fiscal 2010. It expects earning for the year to be in the range of $1.15 to $1.19 per share, and for 2012, somewhere between $1.25 and $1.50 a share.GT Solar shares, which were selling for under $5 last May, closed at $11.50 on Thursday. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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