JA Solar ships record 1.1 GW in third quarter

Tier-1 Chinese solar company JA Solar has posted record revenue and shipment figures for the third quarter of 2015, shipping more than 1.1 GW in PV modules and cells, and achieving a net revenue of RMB 3.8 billion ($601 million).

In terms of shipment growth, Q3 volumes were 43.5% higher than in Q3 2014, and 42.5% higher than Q2. Revenue was 26.4% higher year-on-year, and 41% higher sequentially.

This strong growth has been largely driven by JA Solar’s domestic showing, with China accounting for 53% of all shipments. The only negative was a fall in the shipment of cells and cell tolling, which fell 27.8% on Q2 to 53 MW – a decrease of 42.3% annually.

However, JA Solar CEO Boafang Jin said that the company has made great progress with its new cell manufacturing facility in Malaysia, which was launched in late October.

Shipment growth came at the slight detriment to JA Solar’s downstream operations, which are expected to reach just below 100 MW of projects for the year. “Due to relatively strong demand in the second half, we have allocated additional shipments from our downstream projects to meet customer demand,” said Jin.

Q3 highlights

Shipments of 1,126 MW were above the high end of previous guidance of 900 MW to 950 MW, delivering a solid profit of RMB 677.5 million ($106.6 million), which represented a 49.2% year-on-year increase and a 52.2% increase on Q2. JA Solar cites continued cost reduction efforts, lower polysilicon prices and a stable average selling price (ASP) in its key markets, including, China, as reasons for this profit surge.

The company’s operating expenses rose from $41.6 million in Q3 2014 to $59.5 million, largely due to an increase in selling costs association with higher sales during the quarter. As a percentage of overall revenue, operating expenses were 9.9%, up slightly from 8.8% in Q3 2014 but below the 10.6% of Q2 2015.

JA Solar’s cash and cash equivalents stood at $289.4 million for the quarter, up from $14.3 million in Q2.

"As we continue into the final quarter of 2015, we expect demand to remain strong in our key markets, especially China," Jin added. "Although we expect ASPs to remain stable, rising wafer prices may pressure margins slightly in the remainder of the year. We also continue to focus on capturing greater market share in the Americas."

JA Solar recently appointed Robert Petrina to its U.S. team to help grow the company’s presence in the U.S. market, with 2016 poised to be a big year ahead of the scheduled phase-down of the ITC on January 1, 2017.

JA Solar’s 400 MW cell manufacturing facility in Penang, Malaysia was brought online on October 26 and will aid revenue for Q4, the company said, adding that it hopes to expand its global manufacturing capacity by mid-way next year, eyeing 1.5 GW of wafers, 5 GW of cells and 5 GW of modules in total.

Looking ahead more specifically to Q4, JA Solar expects cell and module shipments to reach between 1.1 GW to 1.2 GW.