Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Analysts See Little Upside from China Solar Subsidies (STP; TSL; YGE)

The three stocks were up 9-13% today. One of my mentors used to say stocks are smarter than analysts (fund managers, etc.). As a follow-up to this morning's "China offers big subsidy to solar power developers (STP; TSL; YGE)", from Tech Trader Daily:

Tomorrow (which will actually be today over here in the Western hemisphere), citizens of China will have an opportunity to see the longest solar eclipse this century.

Another dim view is offered today on the solar tech industry in China from FBR Capital analyst Mehdi Hosseini in a note he sent to clients.

Hosseini, writing about a pronouncement from China’s Ministry of Finance, says solar subsidies from the government are good PR for solar tech companies, but already baked into his estimates for the industry. In brief, the Ministry said it would subsidize solar projects of no less than 500 megawatts over a period of two to three years, and perhaps pay for half the cost of solar installations and transmission equipment.

“We are already assuming 300MW of installation in China in CY09, 750MW in CY10 and well over 1GW/yr after CY10,” writes Hosseini. “Thus, the real material impact from the China market may be already baked into our industry estimates!” Hosseini says the hyper-inflated expectations for demand in China, and subsidies, must not distract from a massive “de-leveraging” of the balance sheets of Chinese solar tech firms. Hosseini reiterates his “Underperform” rating on shares of First Solar (FSLR), Suntech (STP), and Trina Solar (TSL), with price targets of $110, $8, and $16 on those stocks, respectively.

Hosseini seems not to be alone in his lack of enthusiasm. Collins Stewart analyst Dan Ries writes in a note today that the implied solar demand was also baked into his own estimates....MORE
Some of the comments are pretty funny.