A-Power Gets A-nnihilated

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At the outset of October, I told you to cool your jets on A-Power Energy Generation Systems (Nasdaq: APWR  ) . The stock had just gone on a spectacular run on news that wasn't all that a-mazing. A little more than two months later, the shares have lost 41% of their value.

For some insight into the tumble, let's turn to the third-quarter results. Revenue came in at a meager $57.3 million, taking the year-to-date total to just less than $200 million. My prior concerns about A-Power blowing its revenue guidance have come to fruition in a big way: The company projects that its full-year top line will come in at just $310 million, versus $500 million previously.

A big part of A-Power's promise has hinged on its Texas wind farm project. So far, the proposed 600-megawatt project has failed to secure project financing. If no financing is arranged by Dec. 31 (e.g., four weeks from now), each partner has the right to dissolve the project. That's not to say the project is likely to be canceled -- securing U.S. government funding is a time-consuming affair and is likely one of the main hold-ups here -- but A-Power's partners will be free to pull the plug.

A-Power signed on to the Texas project through its majority-owned subsidiary Shenyang Power Group, but the company has recently reduced its interest from 62% to 19.5%. The stated goal is to facilitate revenue recognition. That's a pretty straightforward way to juice the top line in future quarters. A-Power will need to secure firm turbine orders first, however. The company mentioned on its conference call that it's looking to sign on to other U.S. wind projects as both a turbine supplier and as a joint venture investor, but so far has no firm commitments.

The revenue guidance and Texas news were obviously not well received, but there was yet another source of disappointment in the report. A-Power is seeking to sever ties with General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) , which lent the company significant credibility in 2009 with an announced gearbox assembly joint venture. The press release makes it unclear as to which party was dissatisfied, but on the conference call, the company suggested that GE is unable to satisfy the firm's requirements. That's a lot different than A-Power being given the boot by GE, and the company may be getting unfairly punished for this particular development.

The weak wind market has been tough for other players like Broadwind Energy (Nasdaq: BWEN  ) and China Ming Yang Wind Power Group (NYSE: MY  ) , with the former company trading near all-time lows and the latter failing to garnish much investor interest following its recent U.S. IPO. If I had to buy one stock out of the three, it would actually be A-Power. The company has a solid distributed generation business that the firm probably never should have strayed from. If you include the debt relief resulting from the reduction in A-Power's stake in SPG, it looks like the firm's enterprise value is less than 0.2 times sales. I have little to no confidence in this management team, but I do see some speculative merit in the shares at the current sub-$5 share price.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Check out his CAPS profile or follow his articles using Twitter or RSS. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (6)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 06, 2010, at 12:25 PM, aekyeulsa wrote:

    "That's not to say the project is likely to be canceled -- securing U.S. government funding is a time-consuming affair and is likely one of the main hold-ups here -- but A-Power's partners will be free to pull the plug."

    If you're referring to the 30% 1603 grant program, which is the current government funding program for utility-scale wind projects, it is a non-discretionary program that requires only submittal of a basic document for guaranteed distribution. The issue for this project is more likely securing the 70% in private capital needed for this project for an unproven wind turbine manufacturer.

  • Report this Comment On December 07, 2010, at 10:39 AM, izzaboo wrote:

    Does MY's winning a 200MW project change your thoughts on MY vs APWR?

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