JA Solar joins the path back to profit

China’s JA Solar joined its fellow market-leaders in returning to profitability at the end of 2013, according to financial reports published yesterday by the company.

Having seen Canadian Solar, Jinko Solar and Trina Solar post positive final quarter and full financial year 2013 reports earlier in the year, JA Solar revealed a welcome return to profit, posting its first positive quarter results since 2011, with shares surging by 15% to a two-year high.

The company registered a net profit of $23 million in the fourth quarter of last year – a robust turnaround from Q4 2012, when JA Solar suffered a net loss of $102.4 million. For the final quarter of the year, revenue hit $357.3 million – a 33% increase. Shares in the company jumped to $13.14 on the back of this report, and were one of Nasdaq’s most heavily traded stocks yesterday.

JA Solar’s chief executive, Baofang Jin, said that strong demand from China had helped the company recover last year’s losses, aided by power subsidies in Japan and steady inroads being made in other markets, particularly the U.K.

"We continued to perform well in all of our key regions in the fourth quarter, notably China, which is proving to be one of the cornerstone markets of global solar demand," said Jin.

Capital analyst for Standard & Poors, Angelo Zino, commented that Japan’s appetite for solar – born from a post-Fukushima aversion to nuclear energy – will continue to boost JA Solar’s market growth.

"The growth from China and Japan is definitely sustainable," he said, "as more than 80% of JA Solar’s revenue has come from the Asia Pacific region.

"More exposure to the U.S. and Japan would also help JA Solar in the near future."

Forecasts for 2014 estimate that the company will ship between 2.7 GW and 2.9 GW of modules, up from 2.1 GW last year, even though early estimations suggest that total shipments for Q1 2014 will be no more than 610 MW – a slight decrease on the 665.5 MW shipped in the final quarter of 2013.