LDK, JA Solar: A Mixed Bag of Results in the Solar Energy Sector

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Two of China’s established solar panel makers reported third-quarter earnings before markets opened Tuesday morning. Both have improved results compared with the year-ago quarter, but one continues to fight for its life while the other cannot seem quite to put the past couple of years behind it.

JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO) reported third-quarter 2013 results early Tuesday morning. The China-based solar panel maker reported an adjusted net loss per American Depositary Share (ADS) of $0.37 on revenues of $287.3 million. In the same period a year ago, the company reported a loss per ADS of $0.59 on revenue of $258.9 million. Third-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for a loss per ADS of $0.36 and $260.63 million in revenue. One ADS represents five ordinary shares of JA Solar stock.

LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (NYSE: LDK) also reported third-quarter 2013 results. The company reported a diluted earnings per ADS loss of $0.65 on revenues of $156.6 million. In the same period a year ago, LDK reported a loss per ADS of $1.08 on revenue of $114.7 million. Third-quarter results compare to consensus estimates for a loss per ADS of $0.82 and $174.9 million in revenue. One ADS represents one ordinary share of LDK Solar stock.

JA Solar shipped 500.2 megawatts of modules and cells in the third quarter and forecasts shipments of 500 to 550 megawatts in the fourth quarter. The company revised its full-year shipment guidance from a previous range of 1,700 to 1,900 megawatts to a new range of 1,900 to 1,950 megawatts.

LDK forecast wafer shipments for the fourth quarter in the range of 480 to 520 megawatts and cell and module shipments at 120 to 160 megawatts. The company also said it expects revenue in the range of $200 million to $250 million in the fourth quarter.

The earnings miss at JA Solar chopped the share price in premarket trading, while LDK’s revenue forecast is well above the current estimate and its share price soared. LDK’s other announcement this morning, that it has received another two-week forbearance agreement from lenders for an interest payment due in August, is also encouraging to investors, who likely see the new agreement as a signal that LDK will not collapse.

Shares of JA Solar were down about 6% in premarket trading, at $10.00 in a 52-week range of $3.05 to $12.80. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $9.65 before the results were announced.

Shares of LDK Solar were up about 3%, at $1.65 in a 52-week range of $0.88 to $2.32. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $1.50 before the results were announced. That “consensus” is based on one broker’s estimate.