Shunfeng International Clean Energy (SFCE), a Chinese clean energy developer and manufacturer of solar modules, has issued a stark profit warning as it heads into the second half (H2) of the year.
A filing published by the company this week states that the group expects to record a first half (H1) loss of RMB 330 million ($49 million) after tough conditions in H2 2016 have spilled over into 2017.
The profit warning is based on a preliminary assessment of SFCE’s finances, which have taken a hit since an unaudited profit of RMB 54 million was recorded in H1 2016. SFCE cites a variety of reasons for the squeeze on its finances, chiefly a 24.5% drop in the average selling price (ASP) of its solar panels despite a year-on-year sales increase of 25%.
Furthermore, SFCE’s finance costs are an estimated 51% higher than at the same point last year due to newly constructed solar power plants commencing operation in H1 this year – a move that caused the cessation of capitalization of some of the firm’s interest expenses related to the building of these plants.
SFCE’s gross profit has contracted from RMB 991 million ($147 million) to just RMB 791 million ($117 million) in the space of a year, with gross profit margin falling from 22% in H1 2016 to just 16% in H1 2017.
The past few months have been rocky for SFCE. Earlier this year the company was forced to revise down its financial outlook following substantial losses felt on its investment in U.S. PV developer Suniva, which is currently embroiled in not only its own straitened financial conditions but also a potentially damaging trade case with the U.S. authorities.
SFCE owns a 63.13% stake in Suniva, and has also experienced tumultuous finances related to its investment in German company SAG Solarstrom.