Zoltek (ZOLT) Misses Badly, Stock Plunges AH; CEO: "Fundamentals Of Wind Energy Sector Strong"

Zoltek Companies (ZOLT), the maker of carbon components for wind turbines reported an awful quarter after the bell with just .02/share in earnings which badly missed analyst estimates of .13/share.  Revenues declined by 4% from the year ago quarter to 38.6 million. 

“This year our results were further affected by customer reaction to increasingly serious global economic uncertainties. Customers in the computer and automotive markets, along with one of our wind turbine customers, postponed or cancelled some orders. While this is certainly disappointing, we believe it represents a temporary lull in the strong growth profile that Zoltek has established in recent years,” said ZOLT CEO Rumy. 

The company said the largest reduction in sales came from the shut down of Gamesa’s wind turbine manufacturing facilities in December.  Gamesa is the company’s 2nd largest customer.  In commenting on the decrease in sales to Gamesa, ZOLT noted its belief that it did not evidence a long term decline in demand for wind turbines, but rather that Gamesa’s customers have been adversely affected by difficult capital markets in financing installation of new wind energy generation.

The CEO of ZOLT went on to say that the wind energy sector remains strong with the potential to continue growth of 20 – 25% year and that Vestas Wind, it’s largest customer (and the largest wind energy company), continues to be a source of growth for the company.

“We are optimistic about the prospects of future growth in demand from current wind energy customers and prospective customers. Overall wind turbine demand grew just as fast when oil prices were less than $30 per barrel, and a number of wind turbine manufacturers are again actively looking at the high performance carbon fiber-reinforced blade designs. Despite the uncertainties in the current environment, we believe that Zoltek’s long-term growth objectives are still attainable and with our efforts in developing new customers, new applications and new markets, it is entirely possible that fiscal 2009 as a whole will wind up being another year of strong growth for Zoltek.”

ZOLT is off about 16% in after hours trading.

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