Canadian Solar hits shipping guidance; records declining income

Q4 photovoltaic module shipments were 436 megawatts (MW), up 23 percent on Q3, thus meeting the company’s new shipping guidance, which was upped at the end of February. This meant that it shipped a total of 1.32 gigawatts (GW) in the FY 2011, compared to 803 MW in 2010. On a less positive note, net revenues fell in Q4, from $499.6 million in Q3, to $474.1 million. Overall, however, they rose from $1.5 billion in 2010, to hit $1.9 billion in 2011.

In terms of markets, India, China and the U.S. were said to have displayed "notable positive growth" in 2011. In Q4, however, 46.5 percent of revenues were generated in Europe and 26.9 percent in North America.

FY gross profit didn’t perform well, having fallen from $228.7 million in 2010, to $182.2 million in 2011. However, Q4 saw a marked improvement on Q3, having frown from $11.9 million to reach $41.3 million.

Q4 gross margin, at 8.7 percent, was an improvement on the 2.4 percent achieved in Q3. In comparison to the FY 2010, however, it dropped from 15.3 percent to just 9.6 percent. In terms of operating margin, meanwhile, the company saw a negative 4.5 percent in Q4 2011, compared to negative 6.1 percent in Q3 2011.

Total operating expenses were $62.9 million in Q4 2011, compared to $42.6 million in Q3 2011. For the FY, they rose from $108 million in 2010, to $175.4 million in 2011. A loss of operations was additionally recorded. At $-21.5 million, Q4 2011 performed better than Q3 2011, which saw $-30.7 million. Overall, Canadian Solar achieved a small income from operations of $6.8 million, compared to a massive $120.3 million in 2010.

2011 saw a huge loss of income before taxes. Q4 recorded $-43.3 million (Q3: $-47.6 million), while the FY lost $-74.3 million, compared to an income of $67.5 million in 2010.

Q4 inventory balance improved on Q3, having fallen from$406 million in Q3 to $296.6 million. However, for the FY, it rose, from $272.1 million at the end of 2010 to $296.6 million for the FY 2011.

On the results, Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO commented, "Canadian Solar continued to execute and thrive in a highly challenging global market and benefit from customers flight to quality. Our ability to remain focused and to provide customers with innovative, high-quality solar energy solutions, with top notch support, helped us grow our market share."

Looking ahead to 2012, the company expects to ship between 340 and 350 MW of solar products in Q1. Meanwhile, gross margin predicted to be between five and eight percent. For the FY 2012, it believes it will ship around 1.8 to two GW worth of products.