New Solar IPO: Specialized Technology Resources

87725v9v1 New Solar IPO: Specialized Technology Resources

Specialized Technology Resources (STR),maker of materials to protect solar cells inside a panel, plans to gopublic on the New York Stock Exchange and raise up to $34.5 million.

The Enfield, Conn.-based company plans to sell 2.3 million sharesand expects the price to fall somewhere between $13 and $15 per share,according to the company’s filing with the Securities and ExchangeCommission Thursday.

STR could raise even more money if its underwriters exercise their options to buy up to about 1.84 million additional shares.

The company could be the first solar company to go public in theUnited States in more than a year. The company first filed to go publicin July 2008. Soon after, the global financial crisis began to batterthe public markets.

The successful IPO of A123 Systems,a lithium-ion battery maker gunning for the plug-in hybrid car market,could further whet investors’ appetite for more greentech offerings.Watertown, Mass.-based A123 raised $380 million and saw its stock jump 50 percent during the first day of trading.

STR has been around since 1944 and makes encapsulants that are soldunder the brand PhotoCap. The company said it has more than 100customers worldwide, including First Solar, SunPower, BP Solar andUnited Solar Ovonic.

The materials developer said it was the first to developethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA) encapsulant for solar panel manufacturingin the 1970s, with help from researchers of what was then thepredecessor to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The protective layers play a big role in making sure the solarpanels could last for more than two decades. Solar panel makerstypically provide warranties for 20 to 25 years.

The company, led by CEO Dennis Jilot, also provides quality testing,audit and inspection services to retailers, raw material makers andmanufacturers.

STR sold about 2.5 gigawatts’ worth of encapsulants in 2008, saidthe SEC filing. That gave the company a 36 percent share of the globalmarket, it added.

The company has three factories in the United States, one in Spainand one in Malaysia. The Malaysian factory began shipping products lastquarter.

STR expects its total 2009 production to reach about 6.4 gigawatts.

The company posted $67.3 million in sales for the third quarter ofthis year. The solar business accounted for $35.3 million of that. STRmade $7.9 million in net income for the same quarter.

For the first six months of this year, STR generated a net income of$6.2 million on  $117.7 million in sales, compared with a net income of$16 million on $136.7 million in sales during the same period last year.