Trina Solar Earnings: Signs of Life in Chinese Solar Makers

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Chinese solar PV maker Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL) posted first-quarter 2015 results before markets opened on Thursday morning. The company posted diluted earnings per American depositary share (ADS) of $0.16, up $0.03 per ADS sequentially, and well above the $0.09 per ADS consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters. Revenues slipped 20.8% quarter-over-quarter to $558.1 million, which was also well above the consensus estimate of $509.35 million.

Module shipments fell by about 6.6% sequentially to 1,026.2 megawatts in the quarter, and gross profits rose 28% as gross margins increased from 15.7% in the prior quarter to 18.0%. Operating income fell 4.4% sequentially to $29.2 million.

The company’s CEO said:

We are confident that strong global demand will continue to drive greater growth in the solar industry for the remainder of 2015. Trina Solar started fiscal 2015 on a strong note and we will continue to deliver on our commitment to strengthening our leading position as the world’s largest module supplier, and becoming a world-class project developer and operator.

For the second quarter, the company expects to ship between 1,100 and 1,140 megawatts of PV modules, of which 150 to 170 megawatts will be shipped to its downstream PV projects. Trina expects to connect 65 to 70 megawatts of PV projects to the grid in the second quarter. Analysts are forecasting earnings per ADS of $0.19 in the second quarter and revenues of $601.84 million.

For the full year, Trina Solar expects total PV module shipments of 4,400 to 4,600 megawatts, of which 700 to 800 megawatts will be sent to the company’s own downstream projects. Analysts are looking for full-year earnings per ADS of $0.81 and revenues of $2.6 billion.

Trina’s shares traded up about 5.3% in Thursday’s premarket session, at $11.65 in a 52-week range of $7.52 to $15.15. The consensus price target from Thomson/First Call is around $14.40, and the highest price target is $18.00.

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