UPDATE 1-Meyer Burger shares dive after wider loss and share placing

Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:05am EDT

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* Net loss widens to 162.8 million Swiss francs

* Places 4.8 million shares at 16.20 Sfr/share

* Says new orders rise 29 percent to 288 mln francs

* Shares fall 11.5 percent (Adds details)

ZURICH, March 20 (Reuters) - The crisis in the solar industry drove Switzerland's Meyer Burger to its second full-year loss in as a many years, the company said on Thursday as it also announced the sale of new stock, sending its shares down more than 11 percent.

Despite slashing operating costs by almost 100 million Swiss francs ($114 million) last year, the maker of production systems for solar wafers, cells and modules racked up a net loss of 163 million francs after making a loss of 111 million a year earlier.

A fall in prices brought on by a glut of solar equipment threw many of Meyer Burger's customers into crisis, leading to a collapse in its own orders in 2012. This lack of orders also weighed on sales last year, which plunged by two-thirds to 203 million francs.

Shares in Meyer Burger, which have shot up almost 60 percent so far this year, were trading down 11.8 percent at 14.95 francs by 0843 GMT.

In a sign that the crisis may be easing, Meyer Burger said new orders rose 29 percent to 288 million francs, with over 70 percent recorded in the second half of the year.

Still, Meyer Burger's chief financial officer told Reuters in January he did not expect to return to profit before 2015, despite a recent pick-up in the pace of orders.

The company said it had placed 4.8 million new shares at 16.20 francs per share, raising a gross 77.8 million francs in an accelerated bookbuilding run by Credit Suisse and UBS. ($1 = 0.8749 Swiss Francs) (Reporting by Caroline Copley and Alice Baghdjian; Editing by David Holmes)

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