* Reports sixth straight quarterly loss
* Expects panel shipments, system deliveries to rise 32 pct
* Expects first-quarter gross margin to be "low single
Feb 26 Chinese solar panel maker Trina Solar Ltd
forecast higher shipments for the year as it looks to
sell more at home and in emerging solar markets such as Japan,
but stronger sales are not expected to lead to profitability as
prices remain weak.
Trina reported its sixth straight quarterly loss with no end
in sight to the slump in panel prices.
The company's fourth-quarter margins fell short of its
expectations even as shipments outpaced its estimates due to
higher sales to China-based customers.
Trina shares were down 10 percent at $4.01 on the New York
Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon.
"This is what we call profitless prosperity at work," said
Raymond James analyst Alex Morris. "Another quarter of decent
top-line outlook, but prices are simply too low for
profitability and are unlikely to meaningfully improve anytime
in the foreseeable future."
Trina is expected to turn to profitability only in the
fourth quarter of 2014, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Trina was encouraged by the Japanese and Chinese
governments' plans to raise targets for solar power, Chief
Executive Jifan Gao said.
China, the world's top energy consumer, will more than
double its installed solar power capacity this year from 2012,
the government said in January.
The country plans to add 10 gigawatts (GW) of installed
solar power capacity this year, putting it within reach of its
target of 21 GW by 2015.
Japan introduced a feed-in tariff scheme last July to help
spread the use of solar and other types of clean energy in the
wake of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Trina said on Tuesday it expected panel shipments and system
deliveries to increase up to 32 percent to a range of 2.0 GW to
2.1 GW in 2013.
The company forecast shipments of 420 megawatt (MW) to 430
MW in the first quarter, compared with 415 MW in the fourth
Trina said it received $250 million in the fourth quarter in
credit facilities from the China Development Bank Corp
, a policy bank that lends at Beijing's behest.
State-run banks in China have extended 13 billion yuan to
solar companies in 2012, sparking a European Commission
investigation into subsidies for Chinese companies.
The United States imposed steep tariffs last year on some
solar panel imports from China.
HIGH MARGIN PROJECTS
Trina expects its first-quarter overall gross margin to be a
"low single digit" in percentage terms. The fourth-quarter gross
margin was 1.9 percent.
Higher demand is unlikely to result in margin expansion.
Companies are looking to get rid of inventory at cheap prices.
Any rise in solar prices would in itself hurt demand,
spurred by cheaper products, Maxim Group analyst Aaron Chew said
Trina, however, said it expects double-digit gross margin at
its projects systems business, which develops and builds power
plants, in China.
The company, which is looking to start grid-scale projects
in China and the Americas this year, expects to generate 20
percent of 2013 gross revenue from its projects systems
Trina is developing a large-scale, multi-phase utility
project in eastern China, which is expected to commence this
year, and a 50 MW grid-connected solar power plant project in
The company's overall gross margin has remained in single
digits, in percentage terms, for the last five quarters.
Trina's net loss widened to $87.2 million, or $1.23 per
American depositary share (ADS), in the fourth quarter from
$65.8 million, or 93 cents per ADS, a year earlier.
Revenue fell nearly 31 percent to $302.7 million.