Sat, Aug 08, 2015 - Page 14 News List

Neo Solar eyes rebound

GOVERNMENT HELP:The company said growth might arise from increased solar installation targets in the US and China, while governments launched ‘green’ policies

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Neo Solar Power Corp (新日光), the world’s largest solar cell maker, yesterday said a strong rebound in demand might help expand this quarter’s revenue from NT$4.99 billion (US$157 million) last quarter.

The rebound could also help improve its profitability, Neo Solar said in a statement.

The company lost NT$492 million in the first quarter, which was a second straight quarterly loss. The company had not released last quarter’s figures.

“An uptick in solar cell prices in recent months indicates that market demand is improving gradually. We expect the momentum to help raise prices and our gross margin,” the company said in a statement.

“The growth may come from an increase of solar system installation targets in the US and China, as well as rising demand from emerging markets, including India, the Middle East and Latin America, as governments launched policies to encourage the use of green energy,” Neo Solar said.

“Looking ahead, market demand is quite strong, leading to good order visibility in the third quarter,” the company said.

That would support a continued expansion in shipments this quarter, the company said.

Coupled with a gradual rise in average selling prices and greater contribution from higher-margin products, Neo Solar expects its revenue and bottom line to improve this quarter.

Revenue last month slid 5.16 percent to NT$1.71 billion, from June’s NT$1.81 billion, which was a six-month high. During the January-July period, cumulative revenue plunged 32.21 percent to NT$11.33 billion from NT$16.72 billion a year earlier.

Neo Solar’s upbeat outlook corresponds to market researcher TrendForce Corp’s (集邦科技) observation.

The Taipei-based researcher said in a report on Thursday that “solar orders flooded in throughout the second half of last month.”

“Robust demand from China, the US, Japan and India helped lift factory utilization rates [of solar firms],” TrendForce said.

“Order visibility reaches more than three months,” TrendForce analyst Angus Kao (高嘉熙) said in the report.

“The growth momentum should extend to the end of this year, while price could rise slightly,” Kao said.

High-efficiency solar cells from local manufacturers climbed to between US$0.313 and US$0.318 per watt this month, compared with a range of US$0.31 to US$0.315 per watt last month, Kao said.

“The slight price increase, however, will only slightly lift the gross margins of solar cell makers,” Kao said.

Solar cell makers “are still facing an uphill job to make a profit,” he said.

Solar cell maker Gintech Energy Corp (昱晶) on Thursday reported revenue of NT$1.48 billion last month, rising 50.6 percent from NT$917 million a year earlier and 3.6 percent from June’s NT$1.43 billion.

The company attributed last month’s growth to higher shipments and increases in average selling prices, saying the upward trend in price might continue amid strong demand.

Solar wafer supplier Green Energy Technology Inc (綠能科技) said revenue dropped 2.2 percent annually, but rose 3.1 percent monthly to NT$1.19 billion last month.

The company said factory utilization remained at 95 percent last month.

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