FRANKFURT Germany's Centrotherm CTNG.DE, the world's No.2 solar equipment maker, cut its forecast for 2011 sales and operating margin, becoming the latest casualty of a crisis in the solar sector.
The news comes after U.S.-based First Solar (FSLR.O) slashed its profit forecast earlier this week, adding it would slow spending as the industry struggles to adjust to a steep decline in the price of solar panels.
Wacker Chemie (WCHG.DE), too, cut its outlook earlier on Friday, pointing to problems at its polysilicon unit that supplies the solar industry.
Sector companies are fighting lower prices for modules and polysilicon, falling government subsidies and weaker-than-expected demand in key markets, such as Germany.
Centrotherm said it now expected a slightly positive margin for earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for the current year as well as higher sales compared with 2010, when revenue came to 624 million euros ($882 million).
Centrotherm -- whose shares were down 9.8 percent to be the day's biggest fallers in Frankfurt's technology index .TECDAX -- previously forecast a low double-digit EBIT margin and sales of between 690 million euros and 710 million.
The company also reported preliminary nine-month results, with EBIT at 25.2 million euros, putting the operating margin at 4.0 percent. It is due to release final third-quarter results on November 10. ($1 = 0.707 Euros)
(Editing by David Holmes)