MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, OHIO (March 1, 1 p.m. ET) — As it had warned, Ferro Corp. has reported weaker fourth-quarter results than a year earlier, as demand declined for the conductive pastes it produces for makers of solar power cells. It also does not expect adjusted earnings per share in 2012 to reach the adjusted earnings it posted for 2011.
The Mayfield Heights-based maker of specialty chemicals reported a loss for the latest fourth quarter of $28.8 million, or 33 cents a share, vs. a year-earlier profit of $1.8 million, or 2 cents a share.
Sales at Ferro fell 17.5 percent, to $442.7 million from $537 million.
“We began 2011 with high expectations following a strong performance in 2010 that was driven by worldwide economic growth and surging demand for solar power,” Chairman, President and CEO James Kirsch said in a statement. “During the year, the anticipated demand for conductive pastes used in solar cells did not materialize, resulting in significant booking reductions by our customers throughout the world, adversely affecting earnings.
“Our non-solar Electronic Materials businesses performed well in 2011, as did our Color and Glass Performance Materials and Pharmaceuticals businesses,” Kirsch said. “However, improvements in these businesses did not offset the impact of the steep decline in solar paste revenues.”
Looking ahead, Ferro does not expect improvement in its sales in 2012. Consequently, the company is forecasting adjusted earnings per share for all of 2012 in the range of 40 cents to 65 cents.
For all of 2011, Ferro reported adjusted earnings, which excluded special charges, of $61.8 million, or 71 cents a share.