UPDATE 1-STR Holdings loses largest customer, to review strategic options

Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:43pm EST

* Says First Solar will terminate relationship this year

* Says will make significant headcount reductions

* Recorded $39 million in sales from First Solar in 2012

* Shares down 22 pct aftermarket

Jan 22 (Reuters) - Solar components maker STR Holdings Inc will lose the business of its largest customer, First Solar Inc, over the next few months, and the company said it will seek strategic alternatives, sending its shares down 22 percent after the bell.

The money-losing company hired UBS Investment Bank as its financial adviser to help review strategic alternatives. STR reported revenue of $23 million, its lowest in at least five years, for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Losing First Solar, which brought in about $39 million in sales in 2012, will significantly hurt STR's results. Analysts expect 2012 revenue of about $95 million according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

STR said it recently added three new customers in China.

"This new work won't make up for the loss of First Solar's business in the short-term," Chief Executive Robert Yorgensen said in a statement.

The clean technology sector has suffered some recent high-profile flameouts with the bankruptcies of solar company Solyndra and battery maker A123 Systems.

STR said it will cease manufacturing operations at its East Windsor, Connecticut facility by the end of the first quarter, resulting in significant restructuring charges in 2013.

It will also make significant headcount reductions throughout the company.

Enfield, Connecticut-based STR's shares fell 22 percent to $2.40 after the bell. They have fallen nearly 70 percent in the last year.

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