From having limited downstream operations pre-2015, ReneSola focused its efforts on developing, operating and selling solar power projects in the last financial year. This saw the companys revenues take a hit, especially in the first half of the year, due to reduced shipments to external customers, as it directed more shipments to its own downstream projects. The total revenue for the year was $1.28 billion, down 18% from $1.56 billion in 2014.
The revenue flow picked up in the second half of the year, though, peaking during the third quarter at $368.2 million, before dropping 19.5% to $296.4 million in Q4, which also represented a 23.4% drop year-on-year. Total revenue for Q4 was still marginally higher than expectations of $275-$295 million, however.
"We are proud that we delivered on our strategy in 2015, making significant progress in transforming ReneSola from a solar product manufacturer to a multi-faceted participant across the green energy value chain," said Mr. Xianshou Li, ReneSola's Chief Executive Officer. "Our full-year 2015 results demonstrated the wisdom of our strategy.
The yearly profits were down 10.2% to $187.9 million from $209.3 million in 2014, but this was partially due to a 20% sequential drop in Q4 to $47 million. However, the quarters gross margin increased to 16%, which helped the years gross margin increase to 14.7% from 13.4% in 2014. This is the third year in a row the company has enjoyed an increase.
ReneSolas biggest growth came in its operating income, which saw an impressive 256.6% yearly rise to $29.3 million from $8.2 million in 2014. The operating profits increased steadily throughout the year, with Q4 posting $16.9 compared to Q3s $11.4, resulting in a large reduction of net loss for the year, from $33.6 million in 2014 to $5.1 million in 2015.
The reduction of operating costs also enabled the company to reduce its debt by 16.8 million in the fourth quarter, to end the year with a total debt of $734 million. Debt reduction was present throughout the year, as the strategic shift saw operating costs decrease. Our solid P&L performance enabled a reduction in debt of $59 million, added the CEO. Effective management of or working capital and improved balance sheet strength remains a key focus for our team and a long-term commitment to our shareholders. We expect to pay down more debt in the quarters ahead."
The sale of solar projects developed by ReneSola was a large source of the companys income, with projects amounting to 72.8 MW being sold over the year, 18 MW of which during Q4. Total solar module shipments for 2015 were 1.60 GW, down 18.9% from 2014, but total wafer shipments were up 28.7% from 2014 to 1.09 GW.
To compound an exciting period for the company, it currently has 641 MW of projects at various stages of development, spread across the world. ReneSola expects that its revenue will continue to drop slightly in 2016 due to the continued strategic shift, with projections of $1-$1.2 billion for the year. It expects this to begin with Q1 2016 revenues ranging somewhere between $260 million and $270 million, but with its gross margin expected to grow to 17%.
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