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July 31, 2008
SMALL TOWN BUSINESS
GT Solar execs ring Nasdaq bell to mark firm?s listing
|Executives of Merrimack?s GT Solar International Inc. rang the Nasdaq opening bell Thursday, July 24.|
MERRIMACK, New Hampshire (STPNS) -- GT Solar celebrated a bright spot in its 14-year history July 24, as its stock was traded for the first time on the Nasdaq exchange. To mark the occasion, executives from the Merrimack company rang the opening bell in New York City?s Times Square.
?Obviously, this is a major milestone in the history of GT,? said Tom Zarrella, president and chief executive officer. ?It?s just an exciting day.?
GT Solar, which makes parts used to build solar panels, began trading at $16.50 per share under the symbol SOLR. By midday trading, shares had fallen more than 10 percent, but Zarrella said the company is focused on long-term growth, not initial price fluctuations.
GT Solar shares closed at $14.59, off $1.91, or 11.6 percent. Its high for the day was $17; volume was 20.2 million shares.
The Nasdaq index also slumped for the day, closing down 45.77, or 1.97 percent.
GT Solar announced plans to go public earlier this month by filing paperwork with federal regulators. That was after the company considered the move on and off for the past few years. Thanks largely to the booming solar industry, the company has seen explosive growth of late.
In a two-year period from 2006-08, GT Solar saw revenue growth of 419 percent, from about $47 million to more than $244 million, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission documents. Profits for the last fiscal year topped $36 million.
GT Solar is now New Hampshire?s 19th publicly traded company and the state?s first public alternative energy company. The company?s initial public offering is the nation?s largest this year in the alternative energy industry, according to an Associated Press report.
Generally, the extra money a company brings in from going public allows for growth and expansion. GT Solar offered 30.3 million shares for public sale Thursday, bringing in a total of about $500 million.
GT Solar was founded in 1994 by Kedar Gupta and John Talbott, whose last names make up the ?GT? in the company?s name. They decided the need for solar energy was taking off across the globe, made a combined investment of $1,000, and launched the business from their basements.
Lately, the company has seen huge contracts from companies abroad ? particularly in Asia, where the solar industry is big business right now.
In March, GT Solar announced its single largest order to date ? $200 million to supply a South Korean company with solar equipment. By way of comparison, the largest single order to date in 1999 was $4 million.
Late last year, the company broke ground on a construction project to double the size of its Merrimack headquarters, adding 60,000 square feet in several phases over the next two to three years. At the time, GT Solar also announced plans to add up to 100 new jobs, nearly doubling the size of its staff.
GT Solar also filed initial public offering papers last year, but the company never went public.
Ashley Smith can be reached at 594-6446 or email@example.com.
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