JA Solar loses $88.2m in Q4

China’s JA Solar reported a net loss of 549.6m yuan ($88.2m) in the fourth quarter of 2012, widening its full-year loss to 1.7bn yuan, but insists it will be one of the industry's long-term survivors.

JA shipped 1.7GW of PV kit last year – up just 0.4% on the year prior – as the Shanghai-based manufacturer prioritised cost reduction and stringent cash management.

Among other aspects of its cost-reduction campaign, JA retired 600MW of cell and module capacity in late 2012, leaving it with a capacity of 2.5GW for cells, 1.8GW for modules and 1GW for wafers – levels it intends to hold steady for the foreseeable future.

It was the second straight full-year deficit for JA, having lost 420.5m yuan in 2011 – following an explosive 2010 in which it raked in profits of 1.98bn yuan.

The result translates into a loss per diluted American Depository Share of 44.10 yuan for New York-listed JA, compared with a loss per share of 16.90 yuan in 2011.

Chief executive Jin Baofang, who took over from Peng Fang in January, singled out Japan and China as two especially strong markets for JA in 2012 – and especially Japan, “where we have established ourselves as one of the top international suppliers”.

By contrast, the US proved a weak spot for the company, although Jin predicts that demand there will rise notably this year.

Jin claims that JA’s strategy of producing “high-quality products with prudent financial management” will see the company emerge from the current downturn “as one of the industry’s long-term winners”.

JA, which began life as a cell specialist before diversifying into wafers and modules, last week reassured investors that it will have no trouble repaying its convertible bonds coming due in May – drawing a contrast with crisis-stricken rival Suntech.

JA has some $120m of bonds coming due in May.