Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of Chinese clean-tech company SmartHeat
So what: SmartHeat's quarterly numbers were pretty ugly. The company reported a $0.10 loss per share on revenue of $7.9 million. Revenue was down 16% from last year, while the bottom line reversed a $0.05-per-share profit in 2010. Analysts had expected the company to show $11.4 million in revenue and $0.05 in EPS.
Now what: The company blamed tightening fiscal policy in China and rising materials costs as major drivers of the weak quarter. While management seems to think these issues -- particularly the government's fiscal policy initiatives -- will be transitory, it's hard for me to see them becoming more favorable in the near term. Meanwhile, the company provided a laundry list of areas where it expects to make up lost ground. But the list -- which ranges from "maturation of our sales force" to "efficiency of our manufacturing operations" -- simply sounds a lot like "we'll do stuff better."
Underscoring the tougher times ahead, the company slashed full-year earnings guidance to a range of $0.25 to $0.36 per share. Analysts had been estimating $0.71. Even at the new, lower guidance range, the shares of SmartHeat look cheap on an earnings-per-share basis, but that's only if the company actually delivers.
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