* SunPower posts quarterly loss of 6 cents per share
* 2009 EPS and revenue outlook cut
* Stock rises 1.2 percent in extended trade (Adds analyst comment, outlook, updates share activity)
LOS ANGELES, April 23 (Reuters) - U.S. solar company SunPower Corp SPWRA.O reported an unexpected quarterly net loss and slashed its outlook for 2009 as a global credit crisis has choked demand for solar panels.
The company’s stock was up 1.2 percent in extended trade following the announcement, and one analyst said the reduced forecast was not as bad as many investors had feared.
SunPower’s first-quarter net loss was $2.5 million, or 6 cents per share, compared with a net profit of $14.7 million, or 15 cents per share, a year ago.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned 5 cents a share.
Wall Street analysts, on average, had been expecting earnings before one-time items of 23 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates. Analysts had forecast net income of 2 cents a share.
“It looks much worse than expected,” said Canaccord Adams analyst Jed Dorsheimer, who added that the stock reaction would likely be tempered by the negative expectations going into the announcement.
Revenue fell 22 percent to $214 million from $274 million a year ago. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue of $257.7 million, according to Reuters Estimates.
“The first quarter of 2009 was the most challenging quarter we’ve seen since SunPower went public in 2005,” Chief Executive Tom Werner said in a statement.
Makers of solar panels were virtually unscathed by the economic downturn until late last year, when funding for all types of projects dried up, green ones included.
A lack of available funding for solar plants combined with a pullback in solar tax breaks in Spain late last year have led to a flood of solar panels in the market, driving their prices downw and hurting producers’ margins.
SunPower said in March that first-quarter earnings and revenue were likely to be down from a year ago due to snowy weather in Germany, the world’s largest solar market, and weak financial markets and consumer confidence in the United States.
SunPower forecast 2009 net income of 25 cents to 75 cents a share, including 20 cents a share in non-cash charges related to an accounting change. Analysts were expecting net income of $1.05 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.
The company had previously forecast earnings before one-time items of $2.20 per share to $2.80 per share.
Revenue is expected to be between $1.3 billion and $1.7 billion, SunPower said. The company’s previous forecast called for revenue of $1.6 billion to $2 billion.
Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.56 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.
SunPower shares have fallen about 30 percent so far this year. The stock, which had closed 5 percent lower at $25.93 on Nasdaq ahead of the results, rose 1.2 percent in extended trading to $26.25. (Additonal reporting by Matt Daily; Editing by Tim Dobbyn, Leslie Gevirtz)
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