JA Solar sees profits decline despite strong growth of shipments, sales

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Chinese solar PV manufacturer, JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd achieved a turnover of 19.7 billion CNY ($3.0 billion) in full fiscal year 2017, up 25.5% from 15.7 billion CNY ($2.4 billion) in the year prior.

The company’s operating profit registered a slight decrease from 903.2 million CNY ($138.8 million) in 2016, to 715.7 million CNY ($110.0 million) last year. The decline of net profit, instead, was stronger, as the company saw it more than halved from 719.6 million CNY ($110.6 million) in fiscal 2016, to 300.1 million CNY ($46.1 million) in the last year. Meanwhile, gross margin dropped year-on-year, from 14.6% to 12.3%.

“Gross margin was negatively impacted by lower ASPs and rising material costs,” said JA Solar CEO, Baofang Jin. “Additionally, higher operating expenses led to a decline in operating profits and net income in 2017 when compared to 2016,” he further explained.

In terms of shipments, the performance of JA Solar was quite positive, with the company shipping around 7.6 GW of PV products last year – around 2.6 GW more than it did in the previous year. This 52.4% year-on-year growth was mainly driven by the Chinese and Asian-Pacific markets, which accounted for 48.4% and 25.6% of external shipments, respectively.

As for the fourth quarter of 2017, JA Solar registered a turnover of 5.7 billion CNY ($871.8 million), up 42.1% from 3.9 billion CNY in the same quarter of the previous year. Meanwhile, shipments grew 55.2% year-on-year to 2,205.9 MW, which was “above the guidance range of 1,600 to 1,800 MW,” the company said.

Operating profit for the quarter was 210.7 million CNY ($32.4 million), while net profit reached 115.5 million CNY. This compares to €370.5 million CNY and €353.4 million CNY, respectively in Q4 2016.

“Despite the negative impact of the Section 201 trade case, we continue to invest in R&D to develop high-performance products to strengthen our competitive position,” added Jin.

An outlook for the first quarter and full fiscal year 2018 was not provided.