Major tier one PV manufacturer JA Solar reported better than guided shipments for the fourth quarter of 2013, while ending two years of quarterly losses on revenue of US$357.3 million.
The company exprienced increased demand for solar cells and PV modules, notably in Asia Pacific due to continued outsourcing from Japan-based PV suppliers. JA Solar is planning to expand solar cell production capacity to 2.8GW, a 300MW increase and expand PV module capacity to match cell capacity with a significant 1GW expansion.
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JA Solar said the cell and module expansions would be completed during the second quarter of 2014.
The company reported fourth quarter 2013 total shipments of 665.5MW, which exceeded guidance considerably. PV module shipments were 363.3MW, compared to 305MW in the previous quarter, a new record high.
However, solar cell shipments showed the biggest increase in the quarter, rising 55% over the previous quarter (195MW) to 302.2MW.
JA Solar reported fourth quarter net revenue US$357.3 million, up from US$290.5 million in the prior quarter. Gross margin increased from 11.3% in the third quarter of 2013 to 15.5% in the fourth quarter.
The company reported an operating profit of US$9.7 million in the quarter, compared to an operating loss US$5.2 million in the previous quarter, ending two years of losses.
Full-year 2013 results
JA Solar also reported full-year revenue of US$1.2 billion, up from US$1.1 billion in 2012. Gross margin was 10.6%, compared to a negative 0.8% gross margin in 2012. Operating loss was US$15.1 million, compared to an operating loss of US$237.9 million in the previous year. The company reported a net loss in 2013 of US$70.5 million, down from US$274.6 million. The company said that it expected to be profitable for the current year.
The company shipped 2.1GW of products in 2013, up from 1.7GW in the prior year. Shipments reached 1,173.7MW of modules and module tolling and 898.3MW of cells and cell tolling.
On a geographical basis, JA Solar sales to APAC (excluding China) more than doubled year-on-year to reach 33.6% of sales, up from 15% in 2012.
Sales to China decreased to 43%, compared to 50% in 2012. The biggest regional sales decline was in Europe, which fell from 29.8% in 2012 to only 15.1% in 2013. The company noted that a key market in Europe had been the UK.
Baofang Jin, chairman and CEO of JA Solar said: “We continued to perform well in all of our key regions in the fourth quarter, notably China, which is proving to be one of the cornerstone markets of global solar demand. With Japan expected to remain a major growth driver in 2014, we're pleased to have solidified our position there as one of the leading international solar suppliers.”
JA Solar said it expected first quarter 2014 total shipments to be between 580MW and 610MW, while total cell and module shipments for the year are expected to be between 2.7GW and 2.9GW.
The company noted that it expected to retain around 200MW of module shipments for its downstream PV project business in the year.
“In 2014, we plan to build out our position in key markets across Asia, Europe and North America, while exploring opportunities in fast-growing regions including Latin America and the Middle East, where we have gained a solid foothold in recent months. With our global footprint and increasing recognition of JA Solar's superior conversion efficiency and product performance, we target to grow our shipments by over 30% this year to between 2.7GW and 2.9GW. We will also continue to explore downstream opportunities that diversify our revenue mix and deliver attractive returns. With a positive revenue outlook and a very competitive cost structure, we are focused on delivering full-year profitability in 2014,” added Jin.