SunPower's Q4 loss widens, restructuring on track

Solar module by SunPower. Author: PSNH. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Feb 16 (Renewables Now) - US solar manufacturer and developer SunPower Corp (NASDAQ:SPWR) reported a net loss of USD 275.1 million (EUR 260.1m) for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2016, but generated USD 484.8 million in operating cash flow.

The bottom line result included a charge of roughly USD 61 million related to the sale of above market polysilicon, and a GAAP restructuring charge of USD 176 million. As announced in December, the company is laying off 2,500 employees globally and closing some capacity as part of a broad restructuring programme.

In the first quarter of 2017 SunPower expects a net loss of USD 175 million to USD 150 million. CEO Tom Werner said competition in the solar sector is to increase even further. He noted that the firm is on track with respect to 2017 restructuring initiatives.

(in USD million,
unless specified)
Q4 '16 Q4 '15 Q1 '17
2016 2015
GAAP net profit (loss) (275.1) (127.6) (175)-(150) (471.1) (187)
Non-GAAP net profit (loss) (89) 270.4 N/A (63.2) 337.8
Adjusted EBITDA (20.8) 379.9 (45)-(20) 163.6 556.5
GAAP gross margin (in %) (3.1) 5.4 (2)-0 7.4 15.5
Non-GAAP gross margin (in %) (2) 28.8 0-2 9 23.9
GAAP revenue 1,024.9 374.4 315-365 2,559.6 1,576.5
Non-GAAP revenue 1,097.3 1,363.9 370-420 2,702.9 2,612.7
Operating cash flow 484.8 (296.9) N/A (312.3) (726.2)

The Q4 operating cash flow was used to cut the company’s debt by about USD 500 million, said CFO Chuck Boynton. “Our focus this year remains on improving cash flow, prudently managing our working capital and deleveraging the balance sheet,” he added.

SunPower expects to generate positive operating cash flow through the end of 2017 and have about USD 300 million in cash as of December 31. It reiterated its revenue and gigawatts (GW) deployed guidance for 2017, adding that adjusted EBITDA for the full year is expected to be positive, weighted toward the second half of the year.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.95)

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Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for seven years now. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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