* Q-Cells cuts 2009 sales outlook for third time
* Sees worsening financing conditions for PV systems
* Solon posts bigger-than-expected Q1 net loss
* Q-Cells shares turn positive
* Solon shares drop 3.5 pct
(Adds analyst quotes, background, updates shares)
By Christoph Steitz
FRANKFURT, May 12 A lack of project funding
threatens to undermine the solar industry's already fragile
growth prospects, two of the sector's biggest players said on
Tuesday, reporting profits that missed market forecasts.
Q-Cells QCEG.DE, the world's largest maker of solar cells,
slashed its 2009 sales outlook for the third time since
December, while German peer Solon SOOG.DE, a solar module
maker, posted a bigger-than-expected first-quarter net loss.
"In view of the ongoing uncertain market environment due to
financing restrictions for larger PV (photovoltaic) systems in
particular, it is currently still difficult to give a precise
forecast for the full year," Q-Cells said in a statement.
Q-Cells said it now expected 2009 sales to come in between
1.3 billion and 1.6 billion euros ($1.77-2.18 billion), down
from the previous 1.7-2.1 billion euro forecast range.
Massive oversupply of cells, modules and wafer had led
Q-Cells -- along with the world's No.2 cell maker Sharp Corp
(6753.T) -- to cut outlooks or jobs earlier this year, while
Solon withdrew its 2009 outlook last year. [ID:nT322094]
"The cut in guidance is somewhat negative but no huge
negative surprise," DZ Bank Sven Kuerten wrote in a note.
"Due to the relatively good cost control, the fact that
short-term financing issues are resolved due to the sale of the
REC stake and the good project business we keep our Buy rating
unchanged," he added.
Shares in Q-Cells reversed earlier losses and were 3.5
percent higher at 0846 GMT, while the FTSE clean tech index
.FTET50 was off 0.1 percent.
Q-Cells posted sales of 224.8 million euros for the first
quarter and a net loss of 391.9 million euros, partly linked to
writedowns on last week's sale of its stake in Norway's
Renewable Energy Corporation (REC.OL), a move that was widely
expected by analysts. [ID:nL664956]
SOLON SEES Q2 LOSS
Solon's net loss was 18.5 million euros, missing a consensus
of 14 million in a Reuters poll of analysts [ID:nL8287392]
Its stock pared losses but were still down 1.3 percent.
"All in all, reported Q109 results should be taken very
negatively by the market especially when considering the recent
upmove and the very high likelihood of significant earnings
downgrades in due course," Equinet analyst Sebastian Growe wrote
in a note.
Solon shares have more than doubled since hitting a 2009
floor on March 9.
"While demand for solar modules has been on the rise again
in the second quarter, the power plants business is still
suffering from the ongoing critical situation in project
finance," it said in a statement.
"Therefore assume that Solon will also finish the second
quarter with a loss."
Solon in April said it may have to take an impairment loss
of 40 million euros due to funding problems at Silicium de
Provence, an affiliated French company. [ID:nL872020]
"The extremely weak operating performance is further
increasing the very high liquidity risk of Solon. We see the
stock as a very clear 'sell'," wrote DZ Bank's Kuerten.
According to StarMine, which weights analysts' forecasts
based on their track records, Q-Cells trades at 14.3 times
estimated 12-month forward earnings, less than half of No.3 cell
maker Suntech Power's STP.N 30.6, as well as No.4 Kyocera
(6971.T), trading at 66.5 times. Solon trades at 12 times.
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; editing by John Stonestreet and