GT Solar continues profitable ways

In what is getting to be an almost repetitive, but reassuring, refrain, GT Solar increased its sales, earnings, projections and the compensation of its top executives in the last quarter.The Merrimack-based maker of solar equipment and materials reported net income of $42.8 million in the second quarter ending Oct. 2, or 28 cents a diluted share — more than quadruple the amount it earned in the same quarter last year, when it “only” made $9.4 million.That brings the first half net income to 59.3 million. The company has estimated earnings of at least $1 per share, which was the high end of previous projections.Revenue totaled $229.34 million, more than double the same quarter last year (and exceeding Wall Street expectations by about $30 million). And with a backlog of $1.16 billion (which includes nearly $300 million in deferred revenue and net new orders of $264 million), the company is estimating revenues between $775 million and $850 million for the year. Again, $775 million was the high end of a previous projection.The company has enough cash to buy 26.5 million shares owned by its largest shareholders, GT Solar Holdings, for $7.66 share, or about $203 million, and still has $110 million in cash and equivalents left over.That cut down the number of outstanding shares to 124 million, increasing the value per share. With this factored in, projected earnings per share has gone up another 8 cents from $1.08 to $1.18The company’s four top executives were duly rewarded with a total of $634,765 in special payments and the salary of the five top executives increased by 13.8 percent, to a total of almost $2 million, the company disclosed Nov. 5 to the Securities and Exchange Commission.Leading the way was chief executive Thomas Guitierrez, who will earn $650,000 a year (a $100,000, or 18.2 percent, increase), as well as landing a $325,000 special payment. The salary and benefits don’t include equity payments, the value of which usually exceeds salary and bonuses. GT Solar’s stock price closed at $9.46, up 62 cents, on Monday. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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