LDK Q4 shipments disappoint

Customers appear to be fleeing from China’s LDK Solar as it careens towards insolvency or some sort of bailout, with the manufacturer’s fourth-quarter shipments and revenues coming in sharply less than it forecast in December.

LDK president Xingyue Tong bluntly stated that the company is “working closely with our stakeholders and the relevant governmental agencies” to find a pathway back to financial stability, after posting a loss of $517m for the fourth quarter – its seventh straight quarterly deficit – only days after defaulting on some of its bonds.

The depth of the hole which LDK finds itself in is breathtaking, even by the standards of the struggling PV manufacturing sector. Its operating margin for the fourth quarter was a negative 300.8%.

The company blames the enormous polysilicon factory it is building in Inner Mongolia for much of its problems.

Regardless of the cause, LDK’s struggles appear to be repelling potential customers.

In December the company forecast revenues of $230m-$290m for the fourth quarter of 2012 on wafer shipments of 200MW-250MW.

In reality, however, it hauled in revenues of just $136m on 185MW of wafer shipments.

The only part of its guidance which it met was on cells and modules, where it shipped 69MW – having forecast 50MW-80MW.

Yesterday LDK announced it had bagged a 63MW module order from a customer in Thailand, to be delivered over a 10-week period starting this August.

Earlier this week LDK acknowledged it had become the second company from mainland China to ever default on its bonds – after Suntech – having failed to pay out the full $23.8m that came due on 15 April.