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Oil and Gas

CORRECTED - CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-IPO in solar sector, STR, set to price Nov.5

(Corrects to reflect that current owners, not executives, are selling 81.3 percent of the IPO’s shares)

* Company sees net IPO proceeds of $25.4 mln

* Sales fell 14 pct in first half of 2009

* Current owners selling 81.3 pct of the IPO’s shares

NEW YORK, Oct 22 (Reuters) - STR Holdings Inc set terms for what is likely to become the first U.S.-listed initial public offering by a solar company in 15 months.

The Connecticut-based company, which provides encapsulants that protect a solar module’s semiconductor circuit, plans to sell 12.3 million shares for between $13 and $15 each, raising an estimated $172 million, according to an updated prospectus filed on Thursday with U.S. regulators. The shares would trade on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker symbol “STRI.N”.

Its encapsulants are used in both crystalline and thin-film solar modules.

The last solar company to go public in a U.S.-listed IPO was GT Solar International Inc, which raised $500 million but has fallen 65.5 percent since then.

Solar stocks have struggled in the past year as the credit crisis has constricted financing for solar projects; but experts believe the industry will resume its growth trajectory in 2010, aided by the first real installment of “green” stimulus dollars pledged by the major economies. ID:nN02327584.

Demand for systems that turn sunlight into electricity has taken a hit because of the global financial crisis and an oversupply of cells and modules caused by a cutback in Spanish subsidies.

The IPO also comes as investors fret over how much and when Germany’s government will cut aid to its solar industry, the world’s top market.

GT Solar’s IPO follows lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems Inc’s smash-hit IPO in the green technology sector. A123 saw its shares leap 50 percent on their first day of trading, jump-starting the market for green technology IPOs.

Of the shares in the STR IPO, 10 million are being offered by private equity owners, executives, directors and other owners, while the remainder would be sold be the company. DLJ Merchant Banking is offering the largest number of shares -- more than 5.3 million.

STR would use its estimated net proceeds of $25.4 million to pay down debt.

Its clients include BP Plc's BP.L BP Solar and First Solar Inc. FSLR.O The company also offers quality assurance services such as inspection, testing and auditing to consumer products makers.

The deal is expected to price on Nov. 5 and debut on the NYSE the next day, an underwriter said.

In the first half of 2009, STR had sales of $117.7 million, down 14 percent from the year-earlier period, and net income of $6.2 million.

The IPO’s underwriters, led by Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs & Co, will have the option to buy another 1.8 million shares. (Reporting by Phil Wahba, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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