Trina Solar Earnings Improving as Losses Get Smaller

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Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL) reported second-quarter 2013 results before markets opened on Tuesday. The Chinese solar panel maker reported a diluted earnings per American Depositary Share (ADS) loss of $0.47 on revenue of $440.7 million. In the same period a year ago, Trina Solar reported a per ADS loss of $0.90 on revenue of $346.05 million. Second-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for an EPS loss of $0.57 and $374.89 million in revenue. One ADS is equal to 50 ordinary shares.

Sequentially, revenues improved nearly 70% and module shipments were up about 65%. Operating margins remained negative, improving from a negative 15.4% in the first quarter to a negative 5.4% in the second quarter.

For the third quarter, Trina Solar expects module shipments in the range of 650 to 680 megawatts, compared with shipments of 647 megawatts in the second quarter. For the full-year, the company raised its forecast for shipments from a range of 2,000 to 2,100 megawatts to 2,300 to 2,400 megawatts.

The company’s CEO said:

With robust global demand, we took full advantage of our global sales network and strong brand to seize available commercial opportunities. In terms of pricing, the average selling price (“ASP”) of modules has stabilized, reversing the falling trend seen in previous quarters. As a result of our on-going efforts to improve operational efficiency and control manufacturing costs, we achieved continuing reductions in non-silicon costs, which contributed to quarter-on-quarter margin improvement.

Trina Solar had raised its estimate for second-quarter shipments less than two weeks ago to a range of 630 to 660 megawatts. The firm also raised its estimate of gross margins to a new range of 11% to 12%. Gross margins for the second quarter came in at 11.6%, and the company expects similar gross margins in the third quarter.

With shipments and gross margins rising, it appears that Trina Solar may be one of the survivors in the solar PV sector. But actual profits are not forecast through the end of fiscal year 2014, making it hard to get too enthusiastic about the solar market.

Trina Solar’s shares are up about 5% in premarket trading, at $7.13 in a 52-week range of $2.04 to $8.47. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $5.70 before today’s results were announced.

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