Updated: Major tier-one PV module manufacturer Yingli Green Energy reported relatively flat shipments and revenue for 2014 on losses of US$209.5 million.

The company reported PV module shipments of 3,361.3MW in 2014, compared to 3,234.3MW in 2013, meeting the lower end of revised guidance issued in late November 2014. 

As a result, Yingli Green has lost its position as the largest PV manufacturer (based on shipments) to Trina Solar, which recently reported 2014 module shipments of 3,660MW. 

The company held the top ranking for two years, yet has continued to generate losses throughout the period, while nearest rivals, Trina Solar, Canadian Solar and JinkoSolar, have increased shipments and returned to profitability in 2014. 

Yingli Green is ranked second, just ahead of Canadian Solar, which had shipments of 3,105MW in 2014. 

Shipment Guidance for 2015

Yingli Green guided module shipments in 2015 to be in the range of 3.6GW to 3.9GW, which included 400MW to 600MW of shipments to its downstream project business. 

This would represent a module shipment increase of 7.1% to 16.0% compared to 2014.

Fourth quarter results 

Yingli Green reported fourth quarter 2014 revenue of US$555.5 million, compared to US$551.5 million in the third quarter of 2014. 

Total PV module shipments were 939.2 MW in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to 903.4MW in the third quarter of 2014. 

The company reported a gross profit of US$93.3 million in the quarter, compared to US$115.0 million in the previous quarter. Gross margin was 16.8%, compared to 20.9% in the previous quarter, due to lower average selling price (ASP) as shipments in China increased. 

Operating expenses increased to US$125.5 million in the fourth quarter, compared to US$82.5 million in the prior quarter, which the company said was due to R&D activities related to technology innovations. 

Operating loss in the fourth quarter was US$32.2 million, resulting in a negative operating margin of 5.8%, down from negative 5.9% in the previous quarter. 

Net loss in the fourth quarter was US$88.7 million, compared to US$20.0 million in the previous quarter.

"In parallel with the sustainable evolution of solar industry in 2014, we continued to witness strong demand for Yingli Solar modules from China, Japan, the United States, the Europe and other new emerging markets," stated Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. "With favourable governmental policies in place, China market accelerated in the second half of 2014 and accounted for approximately 37% of our total shipments for the full year. In Japan, our shipments nearly tripled with a more than 50% increase in the number of customers. In the United States, we had a solid year notwithstanding the uncertainty brought by the new trade case. In Europe, we continued to play an important role while navigating the complexities of the undertaking agreement. In addition, we continued to expand in new emerging markets with total shipments to these markets increased 90% year over year to 490 MW.

PV projects business 

Yingli Green noted that it PV project pipeline stood at over 1.6GW. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the company shipped 73.7MW of PV modules to its own PV projects in China, which made the total shipments to its own PV projects of 260.6MW for the full year of 2014. 

The company had previously given a wide range of module shipment guidance to its downstream business in the fourth quarter, which was between 10MW to 50MW, while guiding 200MW to 240MW of module shipments to its downstream projects in 2014.

Yingli Green said it expected to ship 400MW to 600MW of PV modules to its own downstream PV projects in 2015. 

The company guided module shipments in the first quarter of 2015 to be in the range of 700MW to 750MW and shipments to its downstream business in the quarter to in the range of 40MW to 60MW. Gross margin for the quarter was guided to be in the range of 14-16%.

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