TheStreet: Some analysts have made the comment to us that Power-One shares are "dead money" right now, and investors won't be comfortable again until there is proof that the inventory excess is declining and the company is having success in the U.S. Is it a fair criticism of Power-One shares?
Consensus earnings after our earnings announcement is at approximately $1.20, and a reasonable trading multiple provides much higher share price than today's. I believe we are undervalued, and I remain surprised at that with our great performance and how well we managed the growth. I recognize that we are newly profitable and the company has been a restructuring story for years, but in a few short years we invested in the right product line and took costs to the right level and carefully adjusted operating expenses and are building out our business, so I feel confident in the team here. To some extent the marketplace we have to survive in is dictated to us, and we believe we can do better than the competition.
Nine dollars a share doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I understand investors were disappointed and we are among the first to publish earnings in the sector, but look at how we trade relative to EBITDA. We are consistently profitable and just don't deserve this low multiple. On the other hand, I understand what investors are looking for, and we have to prove that we can be successful in North America, and at the time, there is stiffer competition and big cap companies coming into the inverter space, almost on a weekly basis, so we will see where it all leads.
TheStreet: Is this the shakeout year for the solar inverter companies?Thompson: There are so many unknowns and some are not so bad. We will just have to wait and see what happens to the industry. There are 80 inverter companies and so maybe the top 15 survive. Can the rest show the balance sheet and bankability, and deliver the maintenance required over 5- to 10-year warranties and maintain service footprints globally? It could well be the shakeout year in inverters. -- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.
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