JinkoSolar posts third-quarter increases in sales, profit as it reviews sale of downstream biz

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Announcing major increases in JinkoSolar’s third-quarter sales and profit on Thursday, CEO Kangping Chen reiterated the company’s intention to spin off and list its downstream business, citing increased investor interest.

The Chinese company posted a 30.5% year-on-year increase in revenue to CNY 2.6 billion ($417.3 million) and close to tripled net profit to CNY 280.6 million ($45.7 million). The company’s operating profit dropped 1.7% to CNY 239.9 million due to greater operating expenses.

JinkoSolar’s total solar module shipments reached a record high of 758.1 MW, including 100 MW for the company’s downstream projects. As of the end of September, JinkoSolar had connected 352 MW of solar projects to the grid and expects to connect another 461 MW of solar projects during the fourth quarter of the year.

"Our business continues to gain considerable momentum as we remain on track to deliver a very successful year in terms of top and bottom-line growth and near completion of our targeted solar power project expansion,” Chen said. “With strong financial support from established financial institutions, a constantly expanding geographic presence and a host of new products coming on line in the near future, we are poised to finish the year on a strong note and look forward to a successful 2015."

Chen said the group’s downstream business continued to pick up pace, with 15 projects totaling 488.5 MW currently under construction. JinkoSolar expects the projects to be connected by the end of 2014 and first quarter of 2015.

The chief exec said the company planned to gradually increase its percentage of distributed generation project construction in 2015.

Chen stressed that JinkoSolar was evaluating the spin off and listing of its downstream business, citing the substantial growth recently seen by both its project portfolio and pipeline and adding that "investor interest has increased."

JinkoSolar announced on Tuesday that it had sold a 45% stake in its downstream unit Jinko Power to China Development Bank International (CDBI), the Macquarie Greater China Infrastructure Fund (MGCIF) and New Horizon Capital for $225 million.

"By efficiently allocating our resources, we were able to maintain our market leading position in China and new emerging markets such as South Africa and Chile, while increasing our market share in the U.S. and Japan," Chen said.

Shipments to China increased 81.4% compared with the second quarter of the year as the Chinese market continued to recover.

"We also continue to build our position in the U.S. and to serve our growing customer base despite tariff uncertainties,” Chen said. “With the landmark agreement between the U.S. and China to cap carbon emissions announced during the APEC summit, we are very optimistic about growth in both countries and globally.”

The CEO noted that while the market had seen some turbulence caused by the sharp decline in oil prices, he expressed confidence about solar power’s potential. He added that the European market remained stable, with demand from the United Kingdom in particular “increasing significantly."

The company increased production capacity for its high-efficiency PID-free Eagle + modules in the quarter. The group is aiming to increase power output for the mass produced modules from 265 W to 270 W by the end of the year, according to Chen.

For the fourth quarter, the company estimates total solar module shipments to range between 1,030 MW and 1,120 MW, including 730 MW to 770 MW to third parties and 300 MW to 350 MW for its own downstream projects. For the full year, JinkoSolar expects total solar module shipments of between 2.9 GW and 3.2 GW, including 2.3 GW to 2.5 GW to third parties, and full year project development scale to be above 600 MW.

Overall, Chen presented an upbeat assessment of the company’s future: "With six consecutive quarters of profitability behind us, we eagerly look forward to seeing the investments we have made in building our downstream project portfolio, diversifying our geographic presence, developing industry leading technology, building long-lasting relationships with financial institutions and creating a stronger foundation for our future growth."