(Reuters) - Chinese solar firm LDK Solar Co Ltd slumped to a third consecutive quarterly loss as weak demand and rapidly declining average selling prices hurt the company's revenue and margins.
LDK Solar, a major supplier of wafers and cells that are used to build photovoltaic panels, was hammered last year following cuts in generous solar subsidies in top markets Germany and Italy.
LDK Solar, which had delayed reporting its fourth-quarter results, posted a loss of $588.7 million, or $4.63 per American Depositary Shares (ADS), compared with a profit of $145.2 million, or $1.09 per ADS in the year-ago period.
The company's quarterly net sales fell 54 percent to $420.2 million, while it recorded a negative gross margin of 65.5 percent for the quarter. It had recorded a positive 27.3 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010.
Analysts, on average, were expecting the company to post a loss of 85 cents a share, on revenue of $431.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"The solar industry experienced a tremendous supply and demand imbalance throughout the value chain during the fourth quarter," Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar, said in a statement.
For the first quarter, the company said it expects revenue of $190 million to $230 million, below market expectation of $397.2 million, while 2012 revenue is expected to be $2 billion to $2.7 billion.
(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Erica Billingham)