China Sunergy boosts revenue, narrows loss in 2013

China Sunergy (CSUN) posted an 8 percent increase in annual sales last year to $316.2 million while narrowing its net loss by 61 percent to $51.6 million. The company more than doubled year-on-year revenue in the fourth quarter, from $54.4 million to $125.5 million, and managed to shrink its net loss from $70.5 million to $13.2 million.

China Sunergy CEO Stephen Cai said the company’s shift to more OEM arrangements drove better-than-expected total shipment. "Overall, we are satisfied with our ability to nimbly adapt our strategy in keeping with the tough solar industry’s dynamics. Our operational flexibility and scale, combined with effective expense controls contributed to an overall improvement in efficiency."

Cai added that the company’s manufacturing plant in Turkey had allowed it to gain incremental and premium market opportunities in Europe, resulting in greater geographical balance in its customer base. "I’m pleased that we made significant progress in 2013, and I’m optimistic that we will further build on that in 2014."

Higher shipments from both modules and cells drove CSUNÂ’s fourth quarter revenue increase. Robust demand from China resulted in a dramatic increase in total shipments the fourth quarter to 235.8 MW, up 123.1 MW from the prior quarter. Total module shipments were 210.6 MW in the quarter while total cell shipments reached 25.2 MW in the period.

Total shipments in 2013 reached 577.4 MW, including 548.2 MW of module shipments and 29.3 MW of cell shipments.

Asia became the largest market for the company, accounting for 67 percent of total revenue in the fourth quarter, with China and Japan accounting for 56.3 percent and 7.1 percent of total revenue, respectively. Sales to European markets represented 31.9 percent of total revenue in the fourth quarter, mainly contributed by Germany, France and the U.K.

CSUN’s revenue share from Europe shrank from 71 percent in 2012 to 47.2% last year as the company further expanded its global operations. Asia, which accounted for only 14.5 percent of sales in 2012, made up 49.7 percent of total revenue in 2013.

Looking forward, Cai anticipates a healthy pricing environment for 2014, adding that a clearer path was visible towards a return to profitability and cash flows.

"We aim to further upgrade our manufacturing processes; integrate our global supply; expand our overseas OEM business; and broaden the use of cheaper overseas financing channels. As such, despite the tough challenges in recent quarters, we are optimistic about 2014. We believe China Sunergy is more efficient, nimble, and well positioned for the foreseeable future, and we are confident that we will deliver significant year-over-year growth in shipment volume."

The company estimates that total shipments for the first quarter of 2014 will range from 130 MW to 140 MW, including 35 MW to 40 MW of cell shipments, with gross margin for the first quarter of 2014 expected to remain in the mid-single digit range. For the full year, CSUN estimates total shipments of between 750 MW and 800 MW, including 150 MW to 200 MW of cell shipments.