Thu, Dec 18, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Local firms see upside in US trade decision

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Neo Solar Power Corp (新日光), the nation’s No. 1 solar cell maker, expects demand from the US to rebound, benefiting from a reduction in anti-dumping tariff to an average of 19.5 percent by the US Department of Commerce on solar cells imported from local firms, a company executive said yesterday.

The new tax rate is lower than the 24.23 percent antidumping tax initially proposed in a preliminary department ruling in July.

“Taiwanese solar cell manufacturers will resume exporting their products to the US after the US Department of Commerce decided to levy much lower import taxes on Taiwanese firms, while hiking tax rates on Chinese firms in its final ruling,” Neo Solar president Sam Hong (洪傳獻) said in a statement.

Chinese rivals — led by Suntech Power Holdings Co (尚德) and Trina Solar Ltd (天合光能) — are to pay an average of 70 percent in combined antidumping and anti-subsidy tariffs, Hong said, citing figures provided by the commerce department.

“That will significantly increase demand for solar cells made by Taiwanese firms, given the tax advantage,” Hong said.

Neo Solar expects the average selling price of its products and the company’s gross margin to improve, Hong said.

The US market accounted for just 0.71 percent of Neo Solar’s total revenue of NT$24.7 billion (US$788 million) in the first 11 months of this year, it said.

Neo Solar, which has an annual production capacity of 250 megawatts, said it would continue to scout sites to build production facilities in the US, Europe and Asia to meet future demand, it said.

Solar cell maker Gintech Energy Corp (昱晶) must pay 27.55 percent in antidumping tariffs, the highest among local peers.

Gintech plans to expand into emerging markets and continue to assess the possibility of building overseas production capacity, it said.

The US accounted for just 1.17 percent of its revenue in the first 11 months of the year, it said.

“Taiwanese solar industry companies will see an uptick in their average selling price in the short term,” TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) analyst Jason Huang (黃公暉) said in a report yesterday.

“Apart from the favorable tax ruling, end demand from the UK, Japan and China will also give a boost to local companies in terms of shipment and price in the first quarter of 2015,” he added.

The price for solar modules is expected to rise by between US$0.03 and US$0.05 per watt next quarter, compared with current costs of US$0.68 per watt, Huang predicted.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday said that the US government’s latest ruling is relatively beneficial to Taiwanese companies, as only a limited number of local solar products are directly exported to the US.

In addition, the ruling suggests if the cells of Taiwan-made solar modules and panels were made in a third country, then US government will not levy anti-dumping duties on Taiwanese companies, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry plans to continue holding overseas exhibitions next year to assist Taiwanese solar firms to expand into markets in Japan, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Germany, Mexico and Chile, it said.

At the end of Taipei trading yesterday, Neo Solar, Gintech and Motech Industries Inc (茂迪) shares rose by 6.85 percent, 6.94 percent and 6.91 percent respectively, to NT$28.85, NT$22.35 and NT$36.33.

Additional reporting by Lauly Li

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