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Chinese Solar Profits Catch Market's Eye

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Two Chinese solar companies reported positive numbers today. And this fact, set against some disappointing Q3 earnings from European and U.S. competitors, is thrusting the China solar profile into the spotlight.

Indeed, the bifurcation of the market between Chinese companies -- which are driving down price, ramping up production and increasing competition worldwide -- and the better established players from the West has never been more sharply delineated.

China Sunergy (CSUN), for one, reported better-than-expected revenues of $80.1 million, beating a Street forecast of $70 million and a 14.3% increase over Q2.

The company's outlook of shipments for the fourth quarter caught the attention of analysts. The company expects between 70 MW to 80 MW, bringing the full year to 190 MW to 200 MW, which is at the high end of the previously announced guidance. Shipments in the third quarter of 54.4 MW represented a 31.1% increase sequentially and an increase of 59.5% year-on-year.

"The fourth quarter shipment forecast was the most compelling number," said Paul Clegg, Jefferies cleantech analyst. While analysts typically review shipment guidance from solar management with a healthy dose of skepticism, Clegg said that China Sunergy has the benefit of reporting late in the earnings period, and already has a month-and-a-half of fourth quarter book numbers on which to base guidance, giving him more confidence in the company's near-term projection. "I'm inclined to believe it's correct," he added.
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