* No longer sees positive EBIT in 2012
* H1 sales 340 mln eur vs 534 mln year ago
* H1 EBIT loss 144 mln eur vs 70 mln profit year-ago
* Shares fall 12 percent
By Christoph Steitz
FRANKFURT, Aug 13 Germany's SolarWorld
slashed its outlook for the current year, accusing Chinese peers
of unfairly undercutting the prices of its components which
pushed the company to a surprise first-half operating loss.
The solar industry is grappling with fierce competition,
falling government subsidies for solar energy and oversupply - a
deadly combination that has already claimed large players such
as U.S.-based Solyndra and Germany's Q-Cells.
Western solar companies have been at odds with their Chinese
counterparts for years, alleging they receive lavish credit
lines from state-backed banks allowing them to sell at cheaper
prices, while European players struggle to refinance.
Chinese companies have repeatedly dismissed such claims,
warning any punitive action would harm the industry as a whole
and trigger a trade war between China and the European Union as
well as the United States.
SolarWorld said on Monday it would not be able to generate
positive earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in 2012,
because of "the aggressive market situation characterised by
illegal trade practices".
The company, which makes components for solar panels that
convert sunlight to electricity, reported a first-half operating
loss of 144 million euros ($177.3 million) compared with a 70
million profit a year ago.
"These are some bad numbers and the huge loss came out of
the blue. You can see that the sector's crisis leaves its mark
everywhere," a trader said.
Calling the results "catastrophic", DZ Bank analyst Sven
Kuerten kept a "sell" rating on SolarWorld, whose shares were
about 12 percent lower at 0815 GMT.
Last month a group of solar companies, led by SolarWorld,
filed an anti-dumping complaint against Chinese rivals with the
European Commission. That followed a similar move in the United
States which led to the world's largest economy imposing duties
on solar panel imports from China. ID:nL6E8IPBD9]
"Chinese manufacturers are breaking the rules and waging a
trade war. Something has to be done to fight their illegal
dumping practices," Chief Executive Frank Asbeck said in a
letter to shareholders.
Following the U.S. government's decision in May, 59 Chinese
solar companies face an import duty of about 31 percent,
including Yingli Green Energy, LDK Solar,
Canadian Solar, Hanwha Solar One, JA Solar
Holding and Jinko Solar.
"The question is whether all those anti-dumping complaints
will achieve anything. To me, it looks as if the industry is
clinging to straws," the trader said.