Strong demand for modules in the third quarter of 2013, meant JA Solar reported increased product shipments and revenue, while reducing losses.
The company reported total shipments of 500.2MW, up from 463MW in the second quarter of 2013, a 7.9% increase. Modules and module tolling shipments were 305MW, up from 253.9MW in the prior quarter. Cells and cell tolling shipments were 195.2MW, down from 209.8MW in the second quarter of 2013.
JA Solar reported third quarter revenue of US$287.3 million), compared to US$258.9 million in the second quarter of 2013.
Gross margin was 11.3%, compared to gross margin of 8.1% in the second quarter of 2013
The company reported an operating loss of US$5.2 million, compared to operating loss of US$5.4 million in the second quarter of 2013. Net loss for the quarter was US$22.6 million, down from US$37.1 million in the prior quarter.
Capacity expansion plans
Management noted in a call to discuss third quarter results that it was considering capacity expansion plans and line upgrades for 2014 as the company was running at high utilisation rates, while demand remained strong.
Currently, JA Solar has nameplate capacity for solar wafers of 1GW, 2.5GW for solar cells (50/50 mono to multi) and 1.8GW of module assembly nameplate capacity.
However, management noted that it had 300MW of module assembly that was not being utilised due to higher production costs attributed to manual assembly techniques and that part of the capital expenditure plans was to upgrade this capacity to being fully automated.
Management noted that it was also planning solar cell line upgrades to boost cell efficiencies with new technology being introduced to boost mono cell efficiencies by 0.3 to 0.4%.
PV Project pipeline
JA Solar has not been aggressive in building its downstream business, unlike the majority of its tier 1 rivals in China. However, management noted that it was planning a 50MW project in Inner Mongolia and that it had been building a pipeline for 2014 of around 200MW, all of which would be for projects to be built in China.
The company said that it expected total cell and module shipments to be between 500MW and 550MW in the fourth quarter, which meant that it had revised upwards its previous shipment guidance of between 1.7GW and 1.9GW to between 1.9GW and 1.95GW.