Thu, May 11, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Gintech losses increasing amid spiraling cell prices

REBOUND INBOUND?The solar cell maker said it has seen promising signs for pricing and profitability in the second quarter, as well as better short-term order visibility

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Solar cell maker Gintech Energy Corp (昱晶能源) yesterday posted widening losses for the quarter ended in March, as prices have spiraled amid sluggish demand.

Losses expanded to NT$780 million (US$25.77 million) in the quarter, compared with losses of NT$307 million in the previous quarter, marking the third straight unprofitable quarter.

A year ago, Gintech made net profit of NT$522 million in the same period.

Gross margin worsened to minus-15.4 percent in the period, from minus-7.1 percent in the previous quarter and 13.5 percent a year earlier.

Gintech said it has lowered factory utilization this quarter to cope with the slump and to seize a growth opportunity from a nascent rebound in demand.

“We are seeing promising signs in terms of pricing and profitability improvement in the second quarter,” Gintech said.

Demand from China is gaining momentum ahead of a June 30 solar installation deadline set by the Chinese government, which has helped boost order visibility in the near term, the statement said.

“We expect both demand and pricing to remain solid in the near term,” Gintech said.

Industrial players based primarily in China have become more rational in terms of capacity expansion, which has also helped ease the industry’s volatility, it added.

However, the company has failed to make significant progress turning around its fortunes.

Revenue sank 21.3 percent from NT$1.2 billion in March to NT$941 million last month, a 39.6 percent decline from the same period last year.

Last quarter, revenue dropped 13.7 percent quarter-on-quarter and 30 percent annually to NT$3.42 billion, the statement said.

Local peer Neo Solar Power Corp (新日光能源) also reported poor performance, posting a 26.72 percent decline to NT$485 million in revenue for last month, compared with NT$661 million in March. The figure represented an annual decrease of 68 percent.

Neo Solar attributed last month’s contraction to a strategic shift from unprofitable polysilicon-based production to monosilicon.

The company’s board of directors on Monday approved a plan to dispose of idle facilities and equipment in Miaoli County to reduce costs and better utilize assets, Neo Solar said.

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