The Company estimates its solar module shipments in the third quarter of 2011 to be in the range of 372 MW to 375 MW, compared to the Company's previous guidance of 480 MW to 520 MW for the reasons discussed below.
And the reasons discussed below are:
A deflationary pricing environment impacted by challenging financing conditions for some of our customer's European projects resulted in the shortfall of our targeted shipment volumes.
This guidance was for the period ended 30 September 2011.
The decline was - unsurprisingly blamed on challenging financing conditions in Europe.
The reason why a huge shipment volume downgrade was surprising was because the last guidance was given in a conference call on 23 August 2011, in other words when the quarter was more than half done.
And in that conference call they actually saw a pickup in demand in Southern Europe. To quote:
Mark Kingsley (COO): I have been waiting for Italy since I got here. So, we are actually seeing some good activity finally. And we have some pickup in activity. We see it. Obviously, our historic Italian account is at the utilities. We also see Spanish accounts that a lot of them actually served projects there. So, after much waiting and unclarity, we are seeing some pickup in demand. There is – we still have a mix of utility projects in commercial rooftop there. And so what we are seeing moved quicker was the stuff that was utility that was finishing off and now it’s blending into commercial rooftop.
Now Mark Kingsley's comment was not forward looking. They were "actually seeing some good activity" in Italy and "some pickup in demand" in Spain. These were historical comments not protected by the various safe-harbors in the securities law. So they must be true or Mark Kingsley is going to be subject to securities fraud claims. And Mr Kingsley is not a Chinese executive - he has to live with his historical comments so I figure he must be telling the truth.
Whatever: volume came in more than 20 percent lower than an estimate made in the last half of the quarter.
Presuming as I do that Mark Kingsley was telling the unvarnished truth as it was on 23 August then demand in Europe must have fallen close to zero for the remainder of the quarter.
That is even worse than I thought.