Solar Losers: GT Solar, Jinko Solar
09/10/10 - 08:29 AM EDT
(GT Solar secondary story corrected for controlling shareholder information)
NEW YORK (TheStreet
) -- GT Solar (SOLR)
announced on Friday morning that controlling shareholders had completed a secondary offering of 11 million shares priced at $7.39. The deal was completed on Thursday, as was a decline in share price.
GT Solar shares ended Thursday down 3% to the price of $7.39, at which the secondary was priced. Shares of the solar company slumped near 16% this week after the secondary filing was first made on Tuesday.
For GT Solar, the larger secondary offering overhang on its stock isn't done yet, though it's not a new issue of common shares from the company that always leads to share dilution.
Two venture capital investors hold a stake of roughly 77 million GT Solar shares. Back in March, the GT Solar financial backers unloaded 25 million shares of the solar equipment maker when they held more than 100 million shares, which led to a 7% decline in GT Solar shares.
For GT Solar, the share overhang remains a significant issue, even after the latest controlling shareholder sale. The venture firms are far from done exiting GT Solar. Venture capital investors selling shares en masse, and at a discount to current share price, is always an issue for investors.
Analysts say it is reasonable to expect the secondary offering to be priced at a discount, maybe as much as a 10% discount, to current share price. Venture capital secondary offerings are distinct from new common shares and GT Solar gains nothing from the proceeds of these secondary deals, but they do increase the number of shares trading at a discount.
It was certainly an opportune time to sell GT Solar shares. Year-to-date, GT Solar shares have risen more than 32% and just last week were trading at a 52-week high of $8.80.
The minor pain suffered by GT Solar shares on Thursday was reversing early on Friday, too, with GT Solar shares among the most active on the Nasdaq, and showing among the largest pre-market gains.
From a sector-perspective, there could be more secondary offerings from solar companies and the profit-taking that is always common in a sector like solar after a big rally. Solar sentiment tends to swing abruptly, and with share prices having recovered to near-2010 highs for many of the companies, there could be an argument made to act on raising capital sooner rather than later. While the solar commentary right now is that fears of a 2011 slowdown are overdone, visibility is far from a sure thing in this hyper-sensitive sector.
For much of 2010, solar shares were so depressed that a new common share secondary offerings may have been too painful for investors to digest. Trina Solar (TSL)
got what was expected to be a big round of secondary offerings started near the beginning of the year. Yet, once the euro began to tumble and solar shares along with it, the secondary market became a less palatable option for financing, and other solar secondary deals didn't follow.
Solar shares have rallied significantly and some recent rising solar stocks have been rumoured as likely candidates for a secondary, such as Jinko Solar (JKS)
Mark Bachman, analyst at Auriga Securities, who had been at a buy on Jinko as shares ran from the IPO price of $11 to above $30 this week, took down his rating to a hold this week, and referenced a potential secondary. Timing may be an issue for Jinko, too, as profit-taking after its big run seems to have begun en masse. On Thursday, Jinko shares slid 11% on volume of over 1.5 million shares, dropping below the $25 mark.
The Jinko Solar loss on Thursday was not in line with the performance of the solar sector.
-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.
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