NANJING, China ( TheStreet) -- The blowout quarter from the solar sector hasn't gone exactly according to plan, and the latest disappoint was provided by China Sunergy ( CSUN) in its pre-market earnings on Thursday, with a surprise loss.

China Sunergy lost nine cents per share in the fourth quarter. Analysts had forecast a profit of eight cents.

China Sunergy did beat Street revenue estimates by $3 million, with $97.6 million in fourth quarter sales, but that outperformance is not likely to move the needle for the Chinese solar player. Revenue outperformance in the fourth quarter from other solar companies has not led to a share rally when the solar companies have not also provided earnings outperformance, gross margin improvement, and expense reduction.

China Sunergy's gross margin improved 0.5% in the fourth quarter.

Expenses were on the rise for China Sunergy. SG&A expenses in the fourth quarter of 2009 were $10.7 million, up from $7.1 million in the third quarter. The Chinese solar company also placed in reserve an additional $4.9 million for doubtful accounts receivable in the fourth quarter, a type of charge that ReneSola ( SOL) also had to take in its earnings yesterday.

China Sunergy shares were down more than 7% in the pre-market.

What's more, China Sunergy's shipment guidance for the first quarter was modest. For the first quarter of 2009 -- expected to be a big demand quarter for solar ahead of the German feed-in tariff reductions -- China Sunergy is guiding investors to at best a flat level of shipments relative to the fourth quarter 2009.

China Sunergy shipped 74 megawatts of solar in the fourth quarter. For the first quarter, China Sunergy provided high-end guidance of 75 MW and low-end guidance of 68 MW.

For the full year of 2010, China Sunergy expects to ship 280 MW to 350 MW of solar.

-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.

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