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Suntech Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2009 Financial Results
--Full Year 2009 PV Shipments Increased 42% Year-Over-Year to 704MW --Full-Year 2009 Net Revenues of $1.7 Billion and Net Income per Diluted ADS of $0.53
SAN FRANCISCO and WUXI, China, March 4, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world's largest crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, today announced financial results for its fourth fiscal quarter and full year ended December 31, 2009.


    Fourth Quarter 2009 Financial Highlights

    -- Total net revenues increased 23.4% sequentially to $583.6 million in
       the fourth quarter of 2009

    -- Gross profit margin for the core wafer to module business was 26.3% in
       the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with 20.0% in the third quarter of
       2009

    -- Consolidated gross profit margin was 23.8% in the fourth quarter of
       2009, compared with 17.8% in the third quarter 2009

    -- Net income attributable to holders of ordinary shares was $49.9 million,
       or $0.27 per diluted American Depository Share (ADS). Each ADS
       represents one ordinary share

    Full Year 2009 Financial Highlights

    -- Total net revenues were $1,693.3 million for the full year 2009

    -- Full year 2009 total shipments of solar products increased 42%
       year-over-year to 704MW

    -- Consolidated gross profit margin was 20.0%

    -- Net income attributable to holders of ordinary shares for the full year
       was $91.5 million or $0.53 per ADS

    -- Cash, cash equivalents and short-term principal guaranteed investment
       was $1,034.0 million as of December 31, 2009

    -- Suntech increased capacity to 1.1GW by the end of 2009 and maintains
       target to increase total PV cell and module production capacity to
       1.4GW by the middle of 2010, of which 450MW will be Pluto-enabled




"We are pleased to announce outstanding fourth quarter results and significant shipment growth for the full year 2009," said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech's Chairman and CEO. "We outperformed our guidance with the highest quarterly shipments volume in Suntech history and continued to extend our market share. In addition, continued progress on our cost reduction initiatives enabled us to considerably improve profitability during the quarter.

"Over the past 12 months, our investment in expanding our deeply experienced European management team helped to enhance our position as a global company with truly localized service capabilities. This robust infrastructure enabled Suntech to ship over 1.5MW per day to European markets in 2009. Outside of Europe, we doubled annual shipments to the U.S., expanded our Japanese sales channels, brought utility solar to China and built our presence in other key emerging markets.

"We also continued to break new ground in technology and quality. We introduced our Pluto-powered HiPerforma solar panel and the Reliathon platform for utility scale projects, and were recently the first solar company in Asia to be awarded both the VDE Test Data Acceptance Program certificate and the China National Accreditation Service's Laboratory Accreditation Certificate. We view these investments as critical to the long-term development of the Company and are committed to maintaining leadership on both fronts.

"In the face of a challenging environment worldwide in 2009, Suntech enhanced our customer support platforms, entered new markets, developed world-class PV innovations, and improved our balance sheet. In 2010, these priorities will remain at the forefront as we establish our new U.S. factory, expand production capacity to 1.4GW, and continue to roll out our high efficiency Pluto technology.

"We are confident that clear customer recognition of the reliability and performance of Suntech products combined with improving affordability will continue to drive strong demand. With our industry leading scale, quality and technology we are well positioned to diversify our sales geographies and expand our market share. We currently target shipments of at least 1.25GW in 2010."



    RECENT BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS

    Sales Agreements and Projects

    -- Suntech signed three long-term supply commitment agreements with
       strategic partners in Europe for up to 490MW of high performance solar
       modules to be delivered over the next three years.

    -- Suntech completed two solar systems that will power the China Pavilion
       and the Theme Pavilion of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo featuring two
       building-integrated solar systems with a combined power output of
       3.12MW.

    -- In 2009, Suntech completed China's first 10MW project in Shizuishan,
       Ningxia Province and commenced construction on an additional 20MW of
       utility scale solar projects. Suntech's in-house system integration
       team will provide turn key solar solutions for these projects. Suntech
       currently has over 2GW of framework agreements to build solar projects
       in China over the next 10 years.

    -- Suntech signed a memorandum of understanding ("MOU") with Ontario,
       Canada's Pure energies to supply up to 17MW in 2010. The MOU is focused
       on bringing affordable, high-quality solar systems to Ontario's rapidly
       growing residential solar market, and micro-feed in tariff program.

    New Manufacturing and Services

    -- Suntech will be the first China-based cleantech company to bring
       manufacturing jobs to the United States with its new factory being
       built in Goodyear, Arizona. The 30MW facility will showcase the
       company's latest-generation solar manufacturing technologies and
       equipment. Manufacturing at the Goodyear plant will begin in September
       2010.

    Technology

    -- Pluto technology is performing well in commercial scale production and
       achieving average conversion efficiency of 19% on mono-crystalline PV
       cells and 17% on multi-crystalline PV cells. Suntech is on track to
       ship 30MW of Pluto shipments in the first half of 2010 and 150MW in the
       second half of 2010.

    -- Suntech became the first solar company in Asia to be awarded both the
       VDE Test Data Acceptance Program and the China National Accreditation
       Service's Laboratory Accreditation Certificate. The certificates are
       further recognition of Suntech's strong commitment to implementing
       world-class quality processes to ensure solar panel performance.

    Convertible Notes

    -- In the first quarter of 2010 Suntech repurchased an aggregate of $221.2
       million principal amount of its 0.25% Convertible Senior Notes due 2012
       for a total consideration of $221.2 million. As of March 4, 2010, $3.8
       million principal amount of the 2012 convertible notes remain
       outstanding. The total non-cash interest expense for the repurchased
       Convertible Senior Notes in 2009 was $14.2 million.



Fourth Quarter 2009 Results

Total net revenues for the fourth quarter of 2009 were $583.6 million, an increase of 23.4% from $473.1 million in the third quarter of 2009.

Gross margin for the core wafer to module business was 26.3% in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with 20.0% in the third quarter of 2009.

For the fourth quarter of 2009, consolidated gross profit was $138.7 million and gross margin was 23.8% compared to consolidated gross profit of $84.1 million and gross margin of 17.8% in the third quarter of 2009. The increase in gross margins was primarily due to a decrease in both the cost of silicon wafers and processing cost for the period.

Operating expenses for the fourth quarter of 2009 were $51.7 million compared to $39.3 million in the third quarter of 2009. The increase in operating expenses was primarily due to an increase in selling expenses in line with revenue growth and an increase in R&D expenses due to continued investments in Pluto, process automation, and new technology development. Of the R&D expenses approximately $4 million were non-recurring in nature.

Income from operations increased 95% to $87.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to $44.8 million in the third quarter of 2009.

Net interest expense was $24.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to net interest expense of $23.5 million in the third quarter of 2009. Net interest expense in the fourth quarter of 2009 included $12.7 million in non-cash expenses of which $11.6 million was related to the adoption of FASB ASC Codification 470-20-65.

Foreign currency exchange loss was $13.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to a foreign currency exchange gain of $10.5 million in the third quarter of 2009. The foreign currency loss in the fourth quarter was primarily related to the depreciation of the Euro versus the USD.

Net other expense was $3.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with $3.8 million of net other expense in the third quarter of 2009. The net other expense in the fourth quarter was primarily due to losses from mark-to-market valuation of foreign exchange forward contracts.

Net income attributable to holders of ordinary shares was $49.9 million, or $0.27 per diluted ADS for the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to net income of $29.8 million, or $0.16 per diluted ADS, for the third quarter of 2009.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, the major non-cash related expenses were share-based compensation charges of $1.6 million; $12.7 million of non-cash interest expenses, as mentioned above; and depreciation and amortization expenses of $20.9 million.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, capital expenditures totaled $35.4 million.

Cash, cash equivalents and short-term principal guaranteed investment increased to $1,034.0 million as of December 31, 2009 from $855.7 million as of September 30, 2009. The increase was primarily due to positive cash flows from our core business and stringent working capital management.

Accounts receivable was $384.4 million as of December 31, 2009, compared with $420.4 million as of September 30, 2009. Days sales outstanding were 60 days in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to 81 days in the third quarter of 2009.

Accounts receivable due from investee companies of GSF was $110.2 million as of December 31, 2009, compared with $112.1 million as of September 30, 2009. The decrease was due to the depreciation of the Euro versus the USD during the fourth quarter.

Accounts payable was $264.2 million as of December 31, 2009, compared with $196.8 million as of September 30, 2009. The increase in accounts payable was primarily due to extended credit terms with suppliers.

Full Year 2009 Results

Total net revenues for the full year 2009 were $1,693.3 million, compared with $1,923.5 million in 2008. The year-over-year decline was primarily due to the decrease in the average selling price of PV products.

For the full year 2009, consolidated gross profit was $338.8 million and gross margin was 20.0% compared to consolidated gross profit of $342.9 million and gross margin of 17.8% for the full year 2008. The increase in gross margins was primarily a result of the successful implementation of initiatives to reduce silicon wafer costs and non-silicon wafer production costs, which decreased faster than the average selling price for PV products.

Operating expenses for the full year 2009 were $164.8 million compared to $160.4 million for the full year 2008.

Income from operations was $174.0 million for the full year 2009 compared to $182.5 million for the full year 2008.

Net income attributable to holders of ordinary shares increased 181.8% to $91.5 million, or $0.53 per diluted ADS for the full year 2009, compared to net income of $32.5 million, or $0.20 per diluted ADS, for the full year 2008.

In the full year 2009, capital expenditures, which were primarily related to the construction of production facilities in Shanghai and other infrastructure projects to support expansion of Pluto capacity, totaled $142.6 million. Depreciation and amortization expenses totaled $66.3 million.

Business Outlook

Suntech expects first quarter 2010 shipments to increase by 5 to 10% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. Consolidated gross margin in the first quarter of 2010 is expected to be in the range of 18% to 20%.

Suntech targets to ship more than 1.25GW of PV products in the full-year 2010.

The Company continues to target expansion to 1.4GW of PV cell and module production capacity by the middle of 2010, of which 450MW will be Pluto-enabled. Capital expenditures are expected to be approximately $200 million in 2010.

2009 Results Preliminary and Unaudited

The results presented in this press release are preliminary and unaudited. The Company is in the process of completing its 2009 audit, and adjustments to the results set forth in this press release may be identified as a result of this process. The Company's 2009 audited financial statements will be included in its 2009 Annual Report on Form 20-F to be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2009 Conference Call Information

Suntech management will host a conference call today at 8:00a.m. Eastern Standard Time (which corresponds to 9:00p.m.Beijing/Hong Kong time and 1:00p.m. Greenwich Mean Time on March 4, 2010) to discuss the company's results.

To access the conference call, please dial +1-617-614-3473 (for U.S. callers/international callers) or +852-3002-1672 (for HK callers) and ask to be connected to the Suntech earnings conference call. A live and archived webcast of the conference call will be available on Suntech's website at http://www.suntech-power.com under Investor Center: Financial Events.

A telephonic replay of the conference call will be available until March 17, 2010 by dialing +1-617-801-6888 (passcode: 52522324).

About Suntech

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP) is the world's leading solar energy company as measured by production output of crystalline silicon solar modules. Suntech designs, develops, manufactures, and markets premium quality, high-output, cost-effective and environmentally friendly solar products for electric power applications in the residential, commercial, industrial, and public utility sectors. Suntech offers an extensive range of customer-centric innovations, including Suntech's patent-pending Pluto technology for crystalline silicon solar cells, which improves power output by up to 12% compared to conventional production methods, the Reliathon(TM), the industry's first fully integrated utility-scale solar platform, and its broad range of building-integrated solar products.

Suntech designs and delivers commercial and utility scale solar power systems in China and the United States. With regional headquarters in China, Switzerland and San Francisco and sales offices worldwide, Suntech is passionate about improving the environment we live in and dedicated to developing advanced solar solutions that enable sustainable development. For more information, please visit http://www.suntech-power.com .

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements constitute "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "will," "expects," "anticipates," "future," "intends," "plans," "believes," "estimates" and similar statements, and includes annual shipment guidance for 2010, the ability to increase PV cell production capacity to 1.4GW by mid-2010, Pluto capacity in 2010, Q1 and full year 2010 sales, the ability to expand our global service platform and deliver world-class innovation, 2010 capital expenditures, the amount of projects built in China under the 2 GW of framework agreements for solar projects, the amount of panels supplied to Pure energies in 2010 and 2011, the timing and ability to collect accounts receivable due from investees of GSF and potential liabilities which may become owing under any other contingent obligations to GSF and investee companies, and the commencement date of the manufacturing at the Goodyear plant. Such statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in Suntech's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 20-F. Suntech does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable law.





    Note: The quarterly and full year consolidated income statements are
          unaudited. The condensed consolidated balance sheets are derived
          from Suntech's unaudited consolidated financial statements.


                            SUNTECH POWER HOLDINGS CO., LTD.
                         CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET
                                     (In $'000)
                                                        As of        As of
                                                    September 30, December 31,
                                                         2009        2009
    ASSETS
    Current assets:
      Cash and cash equivalents                         655,743     833,158
      Restricted cash                                   158,414     124,877
      Inventories                                       284,548     280,054
      Accounts receivable                               420,385     384,416
          -----from GSF Investee Companies              112,114     110,231
          -----from others                              308,271     274,185
      Value-added tax recoverable                        52,532      41,219
      Advances to suppliers                              43,431      48,820
      Short-term investments                            200,000     200,817
      Other current assets                              280,869     242,625
    Total current assets                              2,095,922   2,155,986

    Property, plant and equipment, net                  766,512     777,580
    Intangible assets, net                              172,376     166,687
    Goodwill                                             87,994      86,062
    Investments in affiliates                           240,366     257,256
    Long-term prepayments                               174,494     188,085
    Long-term loan to suppliers                          54,999      54,667
    Amount due from related parties                     187,906     193,577
    Other non-current assets                            118,759     109,664
    TOTAL ASSETS                                      3,899,328   3,989,564

    LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
    Current liabilities:
      Short-term borrowings, including
       current portion of long-term bank
       borrowings                                       847,596     800,390
      Accounts payable                                  196,782     264,235
      Other current liabilities                         436,005     453,455
    Total current liabilities                         1,480,383   1,518,080

    Long-term bank borrowings                           136,281     138,021
    Convertible notes                                   509,759     516,912
    Accrued warranty costs                               50,140      55,152
    Other long-term liabilities                         156,557     142,730
    Total liabilities                                 2,333,120   2,370,895

    Total shareholders' equity                        1,556,833   1,603,959

    Non-controlling interest                              9,375      14,710

    TOTAL LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY        3,899,328   3,989,564



                         SUNTECH POWER HOLDINGS CO., LTD.
                          CONSOLIDATED INCOME STATEMENT
               (In $'000, except share, per share, and per ADS data)

                                                            2008       2009
                                                             As
                                                          adjusted

    Net revenues                                         1,923,509   1,693,348
    Total cost of revenues                               1,580,622   1,354,584

    Gross profit                                           342,887     338,764

    Operating expenses
    Selling expenses                                        59,328      58,872
    General and administrative expenses
                                                            85,737      76,888
    Research and development expenses                       15,314      29,022
    Total operation expenses                               160,379     164,782

    Income from operations                                 182,508     173,982

    Interest expenses                                     (106,024)   (103,257)
    Interest income                                         32,572       9,553
    Foreign exchange (loss)/gain                           (14,404)      8,640
    Other (expense)/income                                 (62,303)      2,575

    Income before income taxes                              32,349      91,493
    Tax provision                                           (1,618)     (2,519)

    Net income after taxes before
     noncontrolling interest and
     equity in earnings of affiliates                       30,731      88,974
    Net gain/(loss) attributable to the
     noncontrolling interest                                 1,442         (61)
    Added equity in gain of affiliates                         287       2,571

    Net income attributable to holders
     of ordinary shares                                     32,460      91,484

    Net income per share and per ADS:
    - Basic                                                   0.21        0.54
    - Diluted                                                 0.20        0.53

    Shares used in computation:
    - Basic                                            154,700,584 169,671,649
    - Diluted                                          160,334,198 172,491,074



                            SUNTECH POWER HOLDINGS CO., LTD.
                              CONSOLIDATED INCOME STATEMENT
                (In $'000, except share, per share, and per ADS data)

                                       Three months  Three months Three months
                                           ended        ended        ended
                                        December 31, September 30, December 31,
                                            2008         2009         2009
                                        As adjusted

    Total net revenues                    414,413      473,113      583,619
    Total cost of revenues                412,068      389,036      444,916

    Gross profit                            2,345       84,077      138,703

    Selling expenses                       14,531       15,477       20,493
    General and administrative expenses    27,112       17,096       18,164
    Research and development expenses       4,529        6,753       13,023
    Total operating expenses               46,172       39,326       51,680

    Income/(loss) from operations         (43,827)      44,751       87,023

    Interest expenses                     (31,137)     (24,963)     (25,667)
    Interest income                        10,073        1,430        1,449
    Foreign exchange (loss)/gain           (3,187)      10,498      (13,198)
    Other expense                         (52,002)      (3,800)      (3,646)

    (Loss)/Income before income taxes    (120,080)      27,916       45,961
    Tax benefit/(provision)                11,073         (122)      (2,643)

    Net income after taxes before
     noncontrolling interest and equity
     in earnings of affiliates           (109,007)      27,794       43,318
    Net (loss)/gain attributable to the
     noncontrolling interest                 (401)        (379)         253
    Equity in earnings of affiliates          287        2,377        6,361

    Net (loss)/income                    (109,121)      29,792       49,932

    Net income per share and per ADS:
    - Basic                                 (0.70)        0.17         0.28
    - Diluted                               (0.69)        0.16         0.27

    Shares and ADSs used in
     computation:
    - Basic                           155,880,532  178,916,675  179,047,395
    - Diluted                         158,408,817  182,138,633  182,322,610

    Each ADS represents one ordinary share


    For further information, please contact:

    In China:
     Rory Macpherson
     Investor Relations Director
     Tel:   +86-21-6288-5574
     Email: rory@suntech-power.com

    In the United States:
     Kristen McNally
     Executive Vice President
     The Piacente Group, Inc. (Investor Relations Counsel, Suntech)
     Tel:   +1-212-481-2050
     Email: suntech@tpg-ir.com




SOURCE Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd.