Earnings are looking a whole lot brighter for most greentech and solar firms, compared to a year ago. Well, that was the case for both rare earth mining company MolyCorp and solar panel maker Suntech, which announced positive earnings this week. However for Evergreen Solar not even a bullish solar sector helped.
When MolyCorp’s stock rose to over $50 per share recently, I had a moment of Holy MolyCorp! This week the stock stayed up in that range, and rose slightly after the rare earth mining company announced fourth quarter earnings with a narrowed loss, and a jump in revenues. Molycorp recorded a loss of $7.9 million compared with a loss of $9.1 million for the year earlier. Revenue jumped to $21.7 million from $2.2 million for the prior year.
A couple trends are keeping MolyCorp’s stock up and sales coming in. One is China, which provides 95 percent of the world’s rare earth metals, and which announced that it will significantly cut its exports of these metals that are used for a variety of growing markets including hybrid vehicle batteries, wind turbines, compact fluorescent light bulbs and magnets for electric vehicle motors. That increases the sales window for MolyCorp.
MolyCorp priced its IPO at $14 apiece last year.
2011 has generally been a good year for solar stocks and Suntech announced killer fourth quarter earnings this week. Suntech generated revenues of $945 million, which was a 61.9 percent increase compared from the quarter a year earlier. At the same time Suntech earned $383.4 million up from $44 million from the quarter the year earlier.
Suntech’s U.S.-traded shares jumped 33 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $9.33 in extended trading following the earnings report, reported BusinessWeek. But as the Toronto Star points out, Suntech’s cost structure is still not as competitive as some of its solar peers.
However, Evergreen Solar was the exception to the solid green earnings week, reporting a net loss for its latest quarter of $411 million, a sharp increase from a net loss of $98.4 million from the quarter the year prior. The dramatic loss came from Evergreen shutting down a plant in Massachusetts — a very controversial and political move given they’d accepted state subsidies — in order to move manufacturing to China.
Evergreen revenues rose 20 percent to $89.3 million from $74.5 million in the prior year, and its stocked remained at its same low level.