* Phoenix Solar Q1 EBIT loss 16.9 mln vs 5.3 mln Rtrs poll
* Nordex Q1 net loss 1.8 mln eur vs 0.6 mln Rtrs poll
* Phoenix Solar shares fall
* Nordex shares slightly higher
(Recasts, adds Nordex, background, analyst comment, shares)
By Christoph Steitz
FRANKFURT, May 11 (Reuters) - Two of Germany’s biggest renewable companies posted mostly weaker than expected earnings, eroded by falling government support and pricing pressure that has clouded the sector’s push following Japan’s nuclear crisis.
German solar wholesaler Phoenix Solar (PS4G.DE) posted a wider than expected operating loss of 16.9 million euros ($23.61 million) for the first quarter, and joined peers in warning of a tough remainder of the year due to lower solar power subsidies.
Nordex (NDXG.DE), a German maker of wind turbines, also reported a first quarter net loss that was three times wider than analyst expectations.
Nordex’ Chief Executive Thomas Richterich cautioned sales and earnings would remain only stable compared with last year.
“It’s too early to say how markets will develop this year,” he said, adding that a turnaround in the U.S. market, a major hope for the wind industry, was muted.
Graphic on solar market forecasts:
Graphic on market share of wind turbine makers:
Even though the nuclear crisis in Japan has fuelled a fresh debate about how power from renewables can be integrated into the energy mix, governments in Germany and Italy, the world’s two largest solar markets, have curtailed incentives on which the sector still depends. [ID:nNLDE7440Z] [ID:nLDE71N2KG]
“First quarter weakness surpasses worst fears,” Jefferies Research analysts said in response to Phoenix Solar operating loss. They also pointed to margin risks at Nordex due to increased competitive pressure.
The news chime with warnings from industry bellwethers such as Denmark’s Vestas (VWS.CO), the world’s biggest wind turbine maker, Norway’s Renewable Energy Corp (REC.OL) and First Solar (FSLR.O), the world’s biggest solar company by market value, that the short-term outlook for the industry was dim.
Phoenix Solar, which generated 74 percent of 2010 sales in Germany, confirmed it saw its 2011 sales flat or slightly higher than 2010, when total sales reached 636 million euros.
According to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates, 2011 sales are seen at 654 million euros.
Its shares were down 3.7 percent at the bottom of Germany's technology index .TECDAX, while Nordex was up 0.6 percent.
Editing by Jane Merriman