UPDATE 2-GT Solar expects Q2, Q4 help meet upbeat FY outlook

Tue May 24, 2011 10:25am EDT

* Q1 rev view $140-$150 mln vs est. $239.6 mln

* Sess Q1 EPS $0.08 to $0.11 vs est $0.37

* Expects more orders from South Korea's OCI

* Shares up 15 pct (Adds details, analysts' comments; updates shares)

By Krishna N Das

BANGALORE, May 24 (Reuters) - GT Solar International Inc forecast first-quarter earnings and revenue much below market estimates, as the solar and LED equipment manufacturer expects to book a majority of its new orders in the second quarter.

Buoyed by a string of new orders recently, Merrimack, New Hampshire-based GT Solar on Monday upped its earnings, revenue and margin outlook for fiscal 2012. It expects revenue in the second and fourth quarters to be the strongest.

GT Solar shares -- up more than 35 percent this year -- rose 15 percent to $13.35 in morning trade on Tuesday on Nasdaq.

GT Solar expects to win more orders from South Korea's OCI Co Ltd , from which it received a $228 million order earlier this month. [ID:nL4E7GI1YM]

"Bidding activity for new polysilicon business continues at a record pace, and we expect several significant new orders to be signed in the balance of this fiscal year," Chief Executive Thomas Gutierrez said on a call with analysts.

Theodore O'Neill of Wunderlich Securities said the company could further raise its outlook as more orders are announced.

"The company is managing expectations. It has far more in orders for the sapphire-making equipment than it expected at this point in time," he said.

GT Solar's growth has prompted analysts and investors to say that the company could attract suitors eager for a foothold in a relatively stable corner of the solar industry. [ID:nN22112576]

"While the sustainability of the current order flow surge is still an open question, it is clear that the next 12 months are shaping up very nicely for GT Solar," Raymond James analysts said in a note.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

GT Solar on Tuesday forecast April-June revenue of $140-$150 million against expectations of $239.6 million.

"EPS will generally follow the flow of revenue with the second and fourth being the strongest quarters of the year," Chief Financial Officer Richard Gaynor said on the call.

It forecast first-quarter earnings of 8-11 cents per share. Analysts were expecting 37 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"We expect the first quarter to be our lightest quarter of the year," Gaynor said.

(Reporting by Krishna N Das in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian, Vyas Mohan)

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