* SunPower Q1 net loss $0.02/shr
* Second-quarter revenue view below Street estimates
* Company to revise FY outlook due to Italy changes
(Adds details on Italian market from conference call, CEO
By Nichola Groom
LOS ANGELES, May 12 U.S. solar panel maker
SunPower Corp SPWRA.O on Thursday offered a second-quarter
revenue forecast that was below market estimates and said it
would soon revise its full-year outlook because of subsidy
cutbacks in Italy.
Shares of the company, which agreed to sell a 60 percent
stake to French energy company Total SA (TOTF.PA) last month,
fell 1.3 percent after the announcement.
Last week, Italy pared the generous solar power incentives
that had made it the world's second-largest market behind
Germany. The cuts have slowed development of projects in Italy
and fed fears that an oversupply of solar modules could
pressure panel manufacturers' prices and profits.
On Thursday, SunPower said it would revise its 2011 outlook
by the end of the quarter to reflect the changes in Italy.
"The solar industry is really experiencing a lot of
pressure," said Morningstar analyst Stephen Simko. "They're
going to have be to selling at prices lower than they
Italy was SunPower's second biggest market in the first
quarter, accounting for 17 percent of sales, executives said on
a conference call.
Changes in Italian policy favor rooftop projects over
larger solar power plants, a shift SunPower said it will
benefit from because its panels are the most efficient in the
industry at transforming sunlight into electricity.
"Rooftop space is constrained, so you would rather have a
high efficiency product," Chief Executive Tom Werner said in an
Near term, SunPower said it would sell its pipeline of
utility-scale projects in Italy and allocate more of its solar
power products to the residential and commercial side of its
For the rest of the year, Werner said the United States and
Germany "are going to be the growth engines."
For the current quarter, San Jose, California-based
SunPower forecast revenue of $500 million to $550 million,
below analysts' average estimate of $595.65 million, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Also on Thursday, SunPower reported a first-quarter net
loss of $2.1 million, or 2 cents per share, compared with a net
profit of $12.6 million, or 13 cents per share, a year ago.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned 15 cents a
Quarterly revenue rose 30 percent to $451.4 million.
Last month, SunPower said first-quarter revenue would be
about $450 million, below its previous forecast, and earnings
per share, excluding one-time items, would be at the low end of
a 15 cent to 21 cent range.
SunPower shares slipped to $21.09 after closing at $21.38
on the Nasdaq. Total is offering $23.25 a share for up to 60
percent of SunPower shares.
(Additional reporting by Matt Daily in New York; Editing by
Richard Chang, Steve Orlofsky and Gunna Dickson)