GTAT downgrades its forecast for 2012

GT Advanced Technologies will lose as much as a dime per share for the quarter, and it has substantially downgraded its forecast for the year, according to guidance released Tuesday by the Nashua-based company.

GTAT said it expects revenue during the last quarter of this calendar year to fall into the $95 million to $102 million range, bringing revenue for the year to $726 million to $733 million. That's off from GTAT's September projections of $925-$975 million for 2012.

Next year, the company's revenue will be in the $500-$600 million range, it said. It also said it could lose about a quarter of its $1.2 billion backlog.

"Our outlook reflects the soft market conditions and very tight lending environment in the solar and LED industries that we serve, as well as the overall challenging macroeconomic environment," said Tom Gutierrez, president and chief executive officer.

He said the company has "taken actions to size our business in accordance with the environment and expect to remain profitable" in 2013.

DSS furnances, which are used to produce the crystal to create solar cells, – and the hallmark of the company's business when it went public as GT Solar in 2008 – will only account for 7 percent of revenue this year and 1 percent next year, the company said. Indeed, the company expects it will have to write off between $80 million and $90 million in DSS inventory.

Most of its revenue next year (57 percent) will be from its sapphire furnaces, which produce crystals used for LED lighting. Sapphire furnaces will account for 31 percent of revenue in 2012.

The company said it is still getting revenue from the sale of reactors used to produce polysilicon, the material used to make solar cells because there is still a need for to produce the material more efficiently.

All of this translates into smaller profits. For the quarter, the company expects its loss to be between a 5 cents and 10 cents per share, resulting in an annual profit ranging from 77 to 82 cents per share.

In September, the company projected a profit of between $1.30 and $1.40 a share. Next year EPS will range between 25 cents and 45 cents, GTAT said.

Wall Street was not happy with the forecast. The stock dropped closed at $3.07, down 39 cents from Monday's close at $3.46.

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