Trina Solar's first quarter results: domestic sales down

For the first quarter of 2013, Trina Solar has reported a net loss of US$63.7 million. The loss per fully diluted ADS (American depositary share) was $0.90. The company’s net loss has more than doubled from the previous year. Net loss was $29.8 million in the first quarter of 2012.

The solar module shipments were 392.6 MW in the first quarter of 2013 which is a decrease of 5.3% from the fourth quarter of 2012 which saw 414.5 MW. 380 MW were shipped in the first quarter of 2012. Trina Solar had expected shipments to increase as much as 30% in 2013 as previously reported.

The net revenue for the first quarter of 2013 was $260.2 million, a 14% decrease sequentially and 25.6% year-over-year total. The seasonal weakness in China and the continuing fall in average module selling prices has been cited as reasons for the fall in revenues. "While the average selling price (ASP) of modules continued to decline in the first quarter due to the lingering supply-demand imbalance in the global PV industry, the rate of decline has slowed from previous quarters," said Jifan Gao, chairman and CEO of Trina Solar.

For the second quarter of 2012 the company expects to ship between 500 and 530 MW of modules. For the full 2013 year Trina Solar maintains its previous guidance figure of 2.0 GW to 2.1 GW for total PV module shipments.

Market share

The conference call hosted by Trina Solar provided more details on the company’s global share and geographical diversity. The company’s Chief Financial Officer Terry Wang explained that Euro-denominated revenue comprised of approximately 40%.

Japan has been identified as a key growth market and Trina Solar states that its sales in Japan in the first quarter has also been increasing at a strong pace. The company has also managed to put a foot into the Indian market which accounted for more than 5% of sales in the first quarter.

The UK and Australia have also been identified as important growth markets by Wang. Trina Solar was also stated to be the most popular solar panel brand in Australia in 2012 according to a new report from Solar Business Services titled, "Australian PV – Technology and Brands 2013". Trina Solar accounted for 100 MW of installations in the continent. Also noteworthy is that recently Trina Solar was awarded awarded the “Top Brand PV” seal in the “Modules” category in Germany.

Sales at home in China were down though. Zhiguo Zhu, President of the module business unit added, "On the quarter-on-quarter basis, however, revenue from the Chinese market has been negatively affected by extremely aggressive competitive pricing and certain seasonality factors".

Trade case

Trina Solar also continues to monitor the trade case development in Europe, one of its biggest markets.

Deutsche Bank’s Vishal Shah posed the question of Trina Solar’s move in the event that there is a tariff for shipments in the second half of the year. Trina Solar’s Wang answered that it is not wise to put any provisions in place without any solid information. Wang believes that the percentage of the second quarter shipments to Europe will still be 40% of the total portfolio. Nevertheless the company is trying to diversify the portfolio in order to access different markets and not be fully dependent on Europe.

What’s to come

Trina Solar managed to obtain approval in the first quarter from the Gansu Provincial Development and Reform Commission to develop a 50 MW grid-connected solar power plant in Wuwei, Gansu Province. Chief Financial Officer Terry Wang said the project is targeted to be completed by the third quarter this year.

Trina Solar also added that it will supply 30 MW of modules to Gestamp Solar for two projects in South Africa. Large-scale solar systems are to be installed in the towns of Prieska and De Aar in Northern Cape Province, with the capacity to generate 20 MW and 10 MW respectively. Deliveries are expected to be made in the third quarter of 2013.

The full Trina Solar financial report can be found here.