JA Solar Reports Strong 2017 Financials, Ships Record 7,143 Megawatts

Shanghai-based solar manufacturer JA Solar reported long-delayed Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2017 Results late last month, reporting record shipments of 7,143.1 megawatts (MW) for the full year, an increase of over 55% while revenue increased by over 25%.

In one of its last quarterly earnings as a publicly-listed company — after a move made in November to go private and exit the NASDAQ in a transaction worth approximately $362.1 million in cash — JA Solar reported strong fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 results, helping to hold the company’s share price stable.

JA Solar announced on the 17th of November that it had entered into a definitive agreement with an investor consortium headed up by company founder, chairman, and CEO, Baofang Jin, to take the company private in an all-cash transaction work approximately $362.1 million. The move is one of several by solar manufacturers to go private and de-list, including Trina Solar’s, the world’s second-largest solar PV manufacturer,  delisting which was completed in March of 2017, and Canadian Solar’s December announcement that it too would be going private. Another company, ReneSola, also de-listed in October.

Announced on April 30, JA Solar published its Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2017 Results, reporting a full month and a half later than it did in 2017. Total shipments for the fourth quarter amounted to 2,205.9 MW, up 55.2% year-over-year and up 35.2% on the previous quarter. Net revenue for the quarter came in at RMB 5.7 billion ($871.8 million), an increase of 42.1% year-over-year and 30.6% sequentially. Gross margin was 12.2%, down on both counts. Fourth quarter earnings per share were $0.08, missing market expectations by $0.04.

For the full-year 2017, total shipments amounted to 7.6 gigawatts (GW) — made up of 7,143.1 MW of modules and module tolling, 358.0 MW of cells and cell tolling to external customers, and 127.4 MW of modules to the company’s downstream projects. External shipments thus saw an increase of 52.4% from the 4.9 GW recorded in 2016. Net revenue was an impressive RMB 19.7 billion ($3.0 billion), compared to the RMB 15.7 billion ($2.4 billion) taken in during full-year 2016. Gross margin was 12.3%, down on the 14.6% recorded in 2016, while earnings per share were down to RMB 6.40 ($0.98), compared to RMB 14.58 ($2.24) in fiscal year 2016.

“Overall 2017 results were largely in-line with our expectations,” explained Baofang Jin, Chairman and CEO of JA Solar. “While net revenue grew 25% year-over-year, gross margin was negatively impacted by lower ASPs and rising material costs. Additionally, higher operating expenses led to a decline in operating profits and net income in 2017 when compared to 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. We are confident that our technologies, high-reliability products and balanced global footprint will continue to position JA Solar for a solid future.”

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