It turns out LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK) isn't above the fray after all.

Back in November, companies like SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWRA), ReneSola (NYSE:SOL), and Suntech Power (NYSE:STP) began to reveal the solar rot resulting from the broader market rout, not to mention the erosion in the euro. Based on the company's conference call comments that same month, LDK seemed to be well insulated against customer delays and cancellations.

December rolled in, and more companies issued financial warnings. JA Solar's (NASDAQ:JASO) fourth-quarter guidance cut was no great surprise, based on the plunging sales prices and production pullback noted in November. European heavyweight Q-Cells went further, warning on full-year 2009 results as well. That really got solar fans spooked.

Only after the books were closed did LDK get around to issuing a warning on its own fourth quarter. This is pretty odd, considering the depth of the guidance dive. The midpoint of revenues has nosed down nearly 25%, from $560 million to $430 million. Gross margins are going from slim to grim.

Like Q-Cells, LDK has also trimmed its expectations for 2009. Revenue guidance is down 20% and gross margins will give up several percentage points. Full-year polysilicon production is also set to come in several thousand tons short of last quarter's projections, but that's always been a 2010 story in my view.

While none of these revelations is all that surprising, I'm disappointed that it took LDK this long to inform investors of the deterioration in the business. I had been warming to the company, which still looks to be one of the industry's likely survivors, but this announcement reminds me why I remain firmly on the sidelines.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.