Net sales from Kyocera’s applied ceramic products group — which produces solar modules — fell 9% on the year to JPY 225,176 million ($2 million). It attributed poor sales of its PV systems to falling global equipment prices and annual cuts to the Japanese government’s feed-in tariff rates for solar projects. It vowed to “further boost profitability by continuing cost reduction efforts in the solar energy business.”
Kyocera’s fine ceramic parts divisions and its semiconductor parts unit helped to offset the weak performance of its solar business. Sales from both units rose from the preceding year, backed partly by rising sales of automotive components in Asia.
Group net sales dropped 3.8% year on year to JPY 1,422,754 million ($12.6 million). However, Kyocera’s operating profit soared 12.8% from the preceding 12-month period to JPY 104,542 million. Net income per share fell from JPY 297.24 in fiscal 2016 to JPY 282.62. The group’s Tokyo-listed shares fell slightly on the morning of the earnings announcement earlier this week but quickly recovered, rising nearly 2.3% to close up at JPY 6412 on May 4.
From the current fiscal year forward, Kyocera has reclassified its main business divisions. PV modules are now produced under its new life and environment group. It expects sales from this division to rise 2.5% year on year to ¥153,000 million in fiscal 2018. It is forecasting a total group net profit of JPY 105,000 million in the current fiscal year, up 1.1% from fiscal 2017.
Despite the declining fortunes of its PV business, Kyocera recently said that it expects to manufacture about 1 GW of capacity in the current fiscal year. It also continues to supply modules for large projects in Japan. Last week, it revealed plans to supply solar panels for a 92 MW installation in suthwestern Japan. The massive project — backed by a $315 million investment — will straddle the Osumi peninsula in Kagoshima prefecture. And last November, it completed a 14.5 MW solar project west of Osaka in Taka, Hyogo prefecture.