Signs of Hope for American Superconductor

Embattled energy solutions provider American Superconductor (NAS: AMSC) is finally back on some sort of normal reporting schedule. After delaying reporting for months after a fallout with Sinovel, the company reported fiscal second-quarter earnings on time for once.

Revenue fell to $20.8 million from $98.1 million a year ago on the loss of Sinovel as a customer. But revenue did jump from just $9.1 million in the first quarter. Net loss was $51.7 million, or $1.02 per share, including a $28.2 million charge related to The Switch acquisition, which fell through, and charges relating to Sinovel.

With the wind business up in the air, investors should keep an eye on how inverters are treating American Superconductor. In an industry with competitors like Satcon Technology (NAS: SATC) and Power-One (NAS: PWER) , growing revenue won't be easy. But for now the D-VAR revenues grew a modest amount in the quarter.

Lost in a Chinese court
American Superconductor's lawsuits and criminal charges against Sinovel are still on the docket in China, but a settlement is anything but guaranteed. The company is seeking as much as $1.2 billion from Sinovel; it'd be a major upside if a settlement near there is reached. But as usual in China, I don't expect much.

Reasons for optimism
I'll admit I've been wrong about American Superconductor's fortunes this year and didn't foresee an employee selling trade secrets to a customer. But as the company stands right now, operations are stabilizing, and $93.5 million in cash should soften any near-term blows. Management is also expecting a much smaller loss in the fourth quarter as backlog grows.

I'm not rushing out to buy shares, but I am comfortable owning long-dated call options that might pay off handsomely if the company turns around.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Travis Hoium owns call options in American Superconductor. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.The Motley Fool owns shares of Power-One. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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