Yingli: Net losses hit $0.5 billion; expects to ship over 3 GW in 2013

Ranked by NPD Solarbuzz as the leading photovoltaic module supplier in terms of shipment volumes in 2012, Yingli has most certainly made its mark on the global photovoltaic stage. Overall, the Chinese manufacturer shipped 2.3 GW of modules last year, compared to 1.6 GW in 2011. And for the coming year, it is "confident" of achieving between 3.2 to 3.3 GW.

Despite the positive increase, Yingli, like the majority of its industry counterparts, recorded falling sales on the back of overcapacity and decreasing prices. Indeed, while Q4 saw an increase from RMB 2.2 billion in Q3 and RMB 2.6 billion in Q4 2011, to RMB 2.9 billion (US$466 million), 2012 revenues dropped from RMB 14.7 billion in 2011, to RMB 11.4 billion (US$1.8 billion).

This translated into a significant net loss of RMB 1.2 billion (US$200.5 million) in Q4 and RMB 3.2 billion (US$512 million) for the FY. The figures did show improvement from previous data, however, up from RMB 959.2 million in Q3 2012, RMB 3.8 billion in Q4 2011, and RMB 3.3 billion in FY 2011.

As such, in Q4, net loss per ordinary share and per American depositary share (ADS) was RMB 7.98 (US$1.28), compared to RMB 6.13 in Q3 2012 and RMB 24.37 in Q4 2011; and RMB 19.59 (US$3.14) in FY 2012, compared to RMB 24.37 in 2011.

At RMB 247.8 million (US$39.8 million), gross loss for the last quarter improved from RMB 507.8 million in Q3, but was significantly down on the gross profit of RMB 77.3 million seen Q4 2011. The same trajectory was seen year-on-year, with Yingli going from a gross profit of RMB 2.4 billion in 2011, to a loss of RMB 368.8 million (US$59.2 million) in 2012.

This led to a Q4 gross margin of negative 8.5%, compared to negative 22.7% in Q3 and positive 3% in Q4 2011; and negative 3.2% for the FY, compared to positive 16.7% in 2011.

Q4 operating expenses increased significantly from RMB 423.8 million in Q3 2012, to RMB 882.6 million (US$141.7 million) in Q4, but fell from the RMB 3.9 billion incurred in Q4 2011 (margin: negative 147.4%). Overall, operating expenses fell year-on-year, from RMB 5.1 billion in 2011, to RMB 2.2 billion (US$345.8 million) in 2012 (margin: negative 22.2%), compared to RMB 2.7 billion in 2011.

Apart from for photovoltaic module shipments, Yingli failed to provide any further 2013 guidance. Liansheng Miao, chairman and CEO, stated, however, "Because of the demand growth in China, U.S., Japan and other new markets, we believe that the global solar market will continue to grow in 2013.

"In addition to building on our success in Europe, China and the U.S., we will continue to strengthen our marketing and selling efforts in Japan and other regions with high potentials of solar applications, including South America, Southeast Asia and Africa."