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Evergreen Solar Cools Down

Shares slip after a revenue miss.

Evergreen Solar (ESLR) cooled off late Wednesday after a fourth-quarter revenue miss.

The Marlboro, Mass., maker of solar energy products lost $5.5 million, or 8 cents a share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a year-ago loss of $5 million, or 8 cents a share. Revenue rose to $32.4 million from $11.6 million a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a 7-cent loss on revenue of $34.4 million.

Marlboro-based product sales were $11.6 million, compared with $10.8 million in the third quarter. Sales of EverQ product, Evergreen Solar's joint venturewith Q-Cells and Renewable Energy Corp., were $25.6 million, of which $20.7 million is included in Evergreen Solar's consolidated statement of operations.

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As a result of the change in ownership of EverQ effective Dec. 19, 2006, Evergreen Solar is now accounting for its investment in EverQ under the equity method of accounting, and therefore only sales occurring prior to Dec. 19 are being consolidated.

"EverQ's fourth-quarter gross margin of 30.3% and operating margin of 18.5% shows the portability and financial leverage of our String Ribbon technology," the company said.

The company guided to first-quarter revenue of $13 million to $14 million, including Marlboro product revenue of $12 million to $12.5 million. Evergreen's net loss is expected to be in the range of $7 million to $7.5 million. Analysts were looking for revenue of $12.9 million.

After rising 57 cents in regular trading to $9.25, Evergreen Solar tumbled 30 cents in postclose action to $8.95.