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GT Solar Surges on First Orders for Sapphire Crystal Furnaces

GT Solar International Inc., a supplier of equipment for solar manufacturers, surged as much as 17 percent in Nasdaq trading after winning its first orders for sapphire crystallization furnaces.

GT Solar rose $1.04, or 16 percent, to $7.73 at 3:23 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares earlier traded as high as $7.84, for their biggest intraday percentage gain since August 2009. The stock, which initially sold for $16.50 in July 2008, had gained 20 percent this year through yesterday.

The furnaces produce synthetic sapphires, which are used in light-emitting diodes. The sales, to units of two Chinese solar manufacturers, total more than $84 million, Merrimack, New Hampshire-based GT Solar said today in a statement.

The buyers, Jiangsu Jixing New Material Co. and Jiujiang Sapphire Tech Co., plan to use the furnaces to enter the sapphire market, GT Solar said. The equipment in the two orders has total production capacity of 8 million two-inch sapphire wafers a year.

GT Solar entered the industrial gem market with its July purchase of sapphire maker Crystal Systems Inc.

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