UPDATE 1-Canadian Solar quarterly revenue forecast misses estimates

Fri May 16, 2014 7:42am EDT

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May 16 (Reuters) - Solar panel maker Canadian Solar Inc forecast much lower-than-expected quarterly revenue as it expects to recognize most of the revenue from its solar projects in Canada and the United States later in the year.

The company's shares were trading down 6.5 percent at $23.66 before the bell on Friday.

The company, which has most of its manufacturing operations in China, forecast second-quarter revenue of $560-$590 million, well below the average analyst estimate of $633.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company expects to recognize revenue from its Canadian and U.S. projects towards the end of the year, partly due to permitting and construction scheduling.

Canadian Solar has been shifting focus to the more profitable business of building solar power plants to lower its reliance on the more competitive and low-margin business of selling solar panels.

However, the company still expects solar panel shipments to rise to 600-630 megawatts (MW) in the second quarter from 500 MW in the first quarter.

Canadian Solar posted its third straight quarterly profit due to higher solar panel shipments and revenue from its solar projects business increasing in the first quarter ended March 31.

Solar companies are returning to the black as generous subsidies and rising demand from Asia lift them out of a four-year slump caused by weak panel prices.

Rival JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd also posted a first-quarter profit earlier this month, helped by higher demand for its panels from Japan and Europe.

Canadian Solar, which already has a footprint in North America, Europe and Asia, is targeting new solar markets in South Africa, South America and the Middle East.

The company said on Wednesday it would collaborate with IKEA Australia to build solar systems totaling 3.6 megawatt across seven IKEA sites in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland.

Net income attributable to the company was $3.8 million, or 7 cents per share, for the first quarter ended March 31, compared with a net loss of $4.4 million, or 10 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 77 percent to $466.3 million.

The company's shares have risen more than threefold in the past 12 months to close at $25.32 on the Nasdaq on Thursday. (Reporting by Anannya Pramanick and Shubhankar Chakravorty in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Simon Jennings)

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