March 12, 2008  -  

VICTORIA — Carmanah Technologies Corp. reported an $8.9-million year-end loss Tuesday, but executives say the worst is over for the Victoria-based solar power and lighting company.

“We’ve weathered the storm of 2007 and have a stabilized approach to 2008 with a strong balance sheet,” CEO Ted Lattimore told analysts in a conference call. Once a green-technology darling but relegated to penny stock territory over the last year due to unbridled growth on diverse products, currency exchange issues and excess inventory, Carmanah ushered in a new business model that Lattimore says will return the company to profitability.

He said Carmanah will break even on its bottom line this year and is expecting 20 per cent growth in each of 2009 and 2010.

“Over the past few months we’ve implemented some very positive changes. . . . We’ve narrowed our product focus, streamlined processes, controlled costs and eliminated bank debt,” said Lattimore, who took over from Art Aylesworth last fall. “As part of a comprehensive 100-day planning process, we’ve identified where we want to be, and developed the strategy to get us there.”

He said the company will focus on three “strategic business units” — solar LED lighting and beacons, power systems and grid tie-ins. This is where senior management will spend most of its time and where nearly all resources and research-and-development money will be funneled. The “tactical business unit,” which includes distribution, mobile solar products and the sign division, will be operated by middle management and given less priority.

“We are aiming for conservative, realistic and organic growth in existing markets,” said Lattimore. “Will it work? We have cash in the bank ($4.1 million). We’re debt-free. Employees are contributing to the plan.

“The fact is every market is growing. Customers are buying in and we continue to be on everyone’s bid list. The 100-day plan to align is complete and in mode.”