Cloudy Day for SunPower: Restates Earnings, Profit Drop, Lower Guidance

It’s a cloudy day for the solar photovoltaic maker SunPower. The company announced its fourth quarter and 2009 year results this afternoon and let loose a triple-whammy of bad news: a drop in fourth quarter profits, a lower-than-expected earnings guidance for 2010 and a restating of its earnings for 2008 and the first three quarters of 2009. Ouch.

SunPower says it brought in a net income of $8.67 million for the three months that ended Jan. 3, 2010, which was a drop from $29.5 million from the restated year earlier fourth quarter net income. Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2009 were $547 million, up from $398 million in revenues from the same period a year earlier.

It’s never good when a company has to restate past earnings. I used to cover telecom equipment company Nortel who was the king of restatements for several years. But SunPower says that thanks to accounting errors in its Philippine operations, it had to restate earnings for all of 2008 and three quarters of 2009 and ended up cutting its earnings during those quarters “by $16.9 million as it recorded an additional $33.2 million in expenses,” notes Reuters.

Finally SunPower gave a forecast for 2010 revenue of $2.0 billion to $2.25 billion and net income of $1.25 to $1.65 per share, which was under the $1.78 per share forecast by analysts. Bummer. As a result SunPower’s shares dropped 8.4 percent.


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