Wed, May 16, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Neo Solar still profitless

IN THE DARK:The firm’s seven consecutive quarters of losses have dwindled its book value to NT$10.39 per share, approaching the margin trading limit of NT$10

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Neo Solar Energy Corp (新日光能源) yesterday reported its seventh consecutive quarterly loss, as a modest rise in prices was not enough to help it out of the woods last quarter.

Prices have begun to stabilize after a prolonged downward spiral caused by a severe oversupply and global trade disputes, the solar cell maker said.

The improving external environment helped the firm significantly narrow its losses to NT$643 million (US$21.54 million) in the first three months of the year, compared with a NT$1.29 billion loss during the same quarter last year, company data showed.

Neo Solar attributed the improvement to a reduction in operating expenses to NT$345 million during the quarter.

It had NT$444 million in operating expenses for the same period last year.

On a quarterly basis, losses dropped slightly from NT$587.14 million in the previous quarter.

“Demand from China came to a halt as a year-end installation spree ended,” Neo Solar said in a statement. “First-quarter results were also affected by seasonal weakness, as the first quarter is usually a slow period for the solar industry.”

That accounted for the 26 percent drop in revenue to NT$2.51 billion, compared with NT$3.4 billion a quarter ago, it said.

Average selling prices also did not bounce back as dramatically as expected, it said.

Losses over the past seven quarters have reduced Neo Solar’s book value to NT$10.39 per common share, approaching the face value of NT$10 per share.

Stocks are restricted from margin trading if their book face value drops below NT$10.

Local rivals Gintech Energy Corp (昱晶) and Solartech Energy Corp (昇陽光電) also fared poorly, as they posted losses at NT$554 million and NT$212 million respectively for the first quarter, compared with NT$797 million and NT$327 million in losses respectively for the first quarter of last year, corporate data showed.

Neo Solar is scheduled to absorb Gintech and Solartech in a three-way merger in October.

Neo Solar hopes the merger will enhance the cost structure of the new entity — to be called United Renewable Energy Co (聯合再生) — by expanding its solar mobile scale and allowing it to build a greater presence in the solar power plant market.

The government plans to inject NT$4 billion into United Renewable Energy by the end of the year.

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