April 12, 2013 - China Sunergy Co., Ltd. today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2012.
Mr. Stephen Cai, CEO of China Sunergy, commented, "Despite tough market conditions, our fourth quarter results showed our strong conversion cost improvements and well-controlled operating expenses. For 2012, we made great strides in further reducing our manufacturing costs, increasing sales in some of our key markets such as Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, and more importantly expanding production into Turkey. We believe that while the overall global solar industry persistently struggles with oversupply, China Sunergy has continually marched forward with our strategy and conversion cost roadmap, which we believe should improve our position when the market eventually turns around."
Fourth Quarter 2012 Financial Highlights
Total revenue was US$54.4 million, a decrease of 8.6% from US$59.5 million in the third quarter of 2012.
Shipments totaled 78.4MW, a decrease of 5.0% (4.1MW) from 82.5MW in the third quarter of 2012. Module shipments were 77.4MW, or 98.8% of total shipments.
Average selling price ("ASP") for the Company's solar modules was US$0.64 per watt, a 9.9% decrease from that of the third quarter of 2012.
Conversion costs for cells improved 11.8% sequentially to US$0.15 per watt, from US$0.17 in the third quarter of 2012. Conversion costs for modules improved 13.0% sequentially to US$0.20 per watt, from US$0.23 in the third quarter of 2012.
Gross losses were US$2.0 million, and gross margin was negative 3.7%. Non-GAAP(1) gross losses were approximately US$0.8 million, and Non-GAAP gross margin was negative 1.5%, caused by the lower ASP and partly offset by the substantial conversion cost improvements.
Net losseswere US$70.5million, attributable to, among other things, a bad debt provision of US$26.1 million and higher tax expenses of US$24.4 million during the fourth quarter of 2012. Non-GAAP net losses were US$43.2 million.
Net loss per ADS was US$5.27, compared to net loss per ADS of US$1.74 in the third quarter of 2012.Non-GAAP net loss per ADS was US$3.23.
Operating cash outflow was US$41.1 million, compared to cash outflow of US$3.6 million in the third quarter of 2012.
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash totaled US$409.9 million, as of December 31, 2012.
Full Year 2012 Financial Highlights
Total net revenue was US$292.7 million, a decrease of 48.3% from US$566.3 million in the prior year.
Shipments totaled 391.0 MW, a decrease of 7.0% from 420.3 MW in the prior year. Module shipments were 379.0MW, or 96.9% of total shipments.
Gross losses were US$1.2 million, and gross margin was negative 0.4%. Non-GAAP gross losses were US$2.0 million, and Non-GAAP gross margin was negative 0.7%.
Net losses were US$133.6 million, and net margin was negative 45.6%. Non-GAAP net losses were US$87.0 million.
Net loss per ADS was US$9.99, compared to a net loss per ADS of US$7.05 in the prior year.Non-GAAP net loss per ADS was US$6.51.
Fourth Quarter & Full Year 2012 Financial Review
Total Revenue and Shipments
For the fourth quarter of 2012, total revenue was US$54.4 million, a decrease of 8.6% from the third quarter of 2012, due primarily to a combination of lower shipments and lower ASP. Revenue for full-year 2012 was US$292.7 million, a decrease of 48.3% from the prior year.
Shipments for the fourth quarter were 78.4MW, and total shipments in 2012 were 391.0MW. Germany became the largest market for the Company, accounting for 29% of total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012. Italy was the second largest market in the fourth quarter, contributing 12.3 % of total revenue, followed by France contributing 11.2% of total revenue. Other markets, including UK and Japan, also generated notable revenue contribution increases during the quarter, as the Company continues to expand its global customer footprint and balance its revenue mix across greater markets and geographies.
Gross Profit / Loss and Gross Margin
Gross losses for the fourth quarter were US$2.0 million, and gross margin was negative 3.7%, compared to gross margin of 0.7% for the third quarter of 2012. Gross losses for full year 2012 were US$1.2 million, and gross margin was negative 0.4%. This is mainly attributable to fast declining ASPs over the year. Excluding the inventory provision of US$1.2 million, Non-GAAP gross losses were US$0.8 million, and Non-GAAP gross margin was negative 1.5% in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Module ASP for the fourth quarter was US$0.64 per watt, which was seven cents or 9.9% lower than that of the last quarter. Module ASP in 2012 was US$0.74 per watt, compared to US$1.36 in the prior year. The lowered ASP was primarily caused by an imbalance of supply and demand and, to a lesser extent, decreasing raw material prices.
Blended wafer costs in the fourth quarter of 2012 were US$0.23 per watt, which was four cents or 14.8% lower than those of the last quarter. Conversion costs of cells and modules manufactured in the fourth quarter of 2012 were US$0.15 and US$0.20 per watt, respectively, a sequential improvement of 11.8% and 13.0%, respectively, from the third quarter of 2012. The cell conversion cost of $0.15 and module conversion cost of US$0.20 both met the Company's year-end target.
Operating Expense, Operating Profit/Loss and Net Income/Loss
Operating expenses increased to US$40.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, from US$28.4 million in the third quarter of 2012. The increase in operating expenses was primarily due to higher bad debt provision of US$26.1 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to US$12.3 million bad debt provision recorded in the third quarter of 2012.
Losses from operations increased to US$42.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, and to US$105.7 million for full year 2012.
The Non-GAAP loss from operations was US$15.0million in the fourth quarter and US$59.2million for the full year 2012.
Correspondingly, net loss was US$70.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2012 and US$133.6 million for 2012. Non-GAAP losses were US$43.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, and US$87.0million for the full year 2012.
Inventories at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012 totaled US$83.9 million, an increase of US$27.8 million from the prior quarter. The increase of inventories in fourth quarter was primarily due to the forthcoming shipment requirement in early 2013, advance purchases in anticipation of higher spot prices in January 2013. The Company strives to maintain an optimal inventory level and continues to diligently monitor and balance its inventories.
Cash and Cash Flow
As of December 31, 2012, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of US$183.3 million, and restricted cash of US$226.6 million. Operating cash outflow for the fourth quarter of 2012 increased to US$41.1 million, from US$3.6 million in the third quarter of 2012, primarily due to increased inventories. Total operating cash outflows for year 2012 were US$15.6 million.
Capital expenditures in the fourth quarter of 2012 were US$16.0 million, as the Company, in its pursuit to producing ever more efficient QSAR products, continues to expand its R&D Center. The construction of the R&D Center expansion is expected to be completed and operational within the second quarter of 2013. Capital expenditures for full year 2012 were US$44.3million.
Additional Company Updates Subsequent to Fourth Quarter 2012
China Sunergy's first shipment to Malaysia: the Company has signed its first solar module contract with Pekat Solar Sdn Bhd, a leading local engineering, procurement and construction company in Malaysia, a subsidiary of Pekat Teknologi Sdn Bhd. The 343KW shipment has been completed in February 2013.
China Sunergy Attended PV Expo 2013 in Tokyo: the Company attended the 6th International Photovoltaic Power Generation Expo in Tokyo, Japan between February 27 and March 1, 2013. The Company also displayed its latest QSAR II module and latest high efficiency poly module Waratah, with a highest output of 270w and 260w on a 60 pieces basis at the exhibition.
Mr. Cai continued, "In early 2013, we saw the overall global market began to rationalize in terms of supply and demand as well as pricing. Also, we witnessed that selective markets such as China and Japan are improving, and as such we will continue to target opportunities in these growing markets while diligently managing our cash position. However, the oversupply in the global solar market will likely persist through the year."
For the first quarter of 2013, the Company estimates that total shipments will range between 100MW to 110MW. Gross margin for the first quarter of 2013 is expected to remain at the similar level of that in the fourth quarter of 2012, based on the average Euro-US dollar exchange rate in March.
For the full year 2013, the Company estimates that total shipments will range between 550MW to 600MW, of which approximately 20% will come from projects.
This guidance is based on the current market conditions and reflects the Company's current and preliminary estimates of market and operating conditions and customer demand, which are all subject to change.