* Posts first profit in 10 quarters
* Says Japan to drive growth in 2014
* Forecasts higher 2014 shipments
* Shares rise as much as 15 pct to 2-year high
By Sayantani Ghosh
March 17 Strong demand from China propelled JA
Solar Holdings Co Ltd to its first profit in 10
quarters, and the company forecast higher shipments for the
year, sending its shares up as much as 15 percent to their
highest in more than two years.
Solar companies such as Trina Solar Ltd, Canadian
Solar Inc and JinkoSolar Holding Co Ltd have
returned to profitability while others have cut losses, as panel
prices stabilized after a four-year decline.
Withdrawal of consumer subsidies in top market Europe and
excess manufacturing capacity in China had sent the solar market
into an extended downturn.
"We continued to perform well in all of our key regions in
the fourth quarter, notably China, which is proving to be one of
the cornerstone markets of global solar demand," Chief Executive
Baofang Jin said in a statement on Monday.
This year, China has a target of installing 14.5 gigawatts
(GW) of solar generating capacity - close to Finland's entire
Solar companies are also benefiting from power subsidies in
Japan, which is banking on solar power to help meet the
shortfall in supply after the Fukushima disaster in 2011
shattered public confidence in nuclear energy.
Baofang said Japan was expected to remain a major growth
driver in 2014, and that the company was making steady inroads
into the UK utility market.
"The growth from China and Japan is definitely sustainable
as more than 80 percent of their revenue has come from the Asia
Pacific region," S&P Capital analyst Angelo Zino said.
"More exposure to U.S. and Japan would also help JA solar in
the near future."
JA Solar forecast full-year cell and module shipments
between 2.7 GW and 2.9 GW for 2014, up from 2.1 GW in 2013.
JA Solar said it expected total shipments to be between 580
megawatt (MW) and 610 MW in the first quarter, down from 665.5
MW shipped in the fourth quarter.
The company posted a net profit of $23 million, or 32 cents
per American depositary share (ADS), in the fourth quarter ended
Dec. 31, compared with a net loss of $102.4 million, or $2.65
per ADS, a year earlier.
Revenue rose 33 percent to $357.3 million.
Rival Yingli Green Energy Holding Co Ltd, which is
due to report quarterly results on Tuesday, warned earlier this
month that it would miss its fourth-quarter gross margins
forecast due to disposal of low-efficiency cell inventory and
JA Solar's shares jumped to $13.14 in early trading but
later gave up some gains to trade up 6 percent. They were among
the most heavily traded stocks on the Nasdaq, with more than
13.5 million shares traded by 1145 ET.
The stock has more than doubled over the past year.