Trina Solar enjoys positive 2013 despite Q4 slowdown


Trina Solar has published a positive set of results for its 2013 fiscal year performance, revealing that the company increased its total net revenues by 36.9% last year to $1.77 billion.

But despite generating a gross profit of $218.2 million and a gross margin of 12.3%, the company still operated at a loss of $43.8 million, with a net loss for the full year coming in at $77.9 million. However, both these losses were improvements on the losses suffered in 2012, thanks largely to the weighty increase in PV module shipments – 2.58 GW were shipped last year, compared to just 1.59 GW in 2012.

Year-end tail-off

The fourth quarter saw a slight drop-off in growth when compared to Q3, with module shipments falling from 774.6 MW to 770.1 MW. As a result, net revenues fell by 4.1% to $525.6 million, with gross profit contracting by 5.2% to $79.1 million.

One silver lining for Trina Solar in the fourth quarter was a healthy increase in operating income, which grew 133.8% to $14.1 million, despite a 3.5% decrease in overall net income quarter-on-quarter.

"We are pleased to report that in the fourth quarter we continued to make progress in executing our operating strategy across all key geographies and end segments," said Trina Solar CEO Jifan Gao. "In particular, we are seeing substantial sales growth in China, and anticipate that trend to continue following the government’s increased target of 14 GW in new solar installations for 2014."

The CEO also revealed that the company had made good progress in diversifying Trina Solar’s business beyond the traditional markets of Europe and the U.S., adding that geographical expansion will be a key strategic focus for the company in 2014.

R&D focus

In a press briefing, Gao placed particular emphasis on Trina Solar’s ongoing commitment to R& D and innovation, recalling the company’s work with the Australian National University (ANU) in developing a 24.4% efficient IBC solar cell. "Trina Solar has independently developed a commercial version of the IBC cell and expects it to be ready for trial production in its ‘golden line’ production line as one of Trina’s focuses for R&D in 2014," he said.

Looking ahead, the CEO reiterated the importance of meeting and driving strong demand in China and Japan, while taking pains to ensure that the wider Asia Pacific region, and the Middle East, are viewed as key markets both now, and in the future. "At the same time," he concluded, "we remain committed to securing ongoing growth in Europe. To capitalize on this growing demand, we will work towards solidifying our leading position in module sales, and will further focus on developing downstream projects.

"To achieve this goal we have been building project pipelines in a number of different geographical regions that we anticipate will provide Trina Solar with a platform for further growth."