JA Solar 'going nowhere' despite $102m Q4 loss

China’s JA Solar reported a net loss of 637.9m yuan ($102.4m) in the fourth quarter of 2012, widening its full-year loss to 1.7bn yuan, while insisting 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.

After an explosive 2010 in which it raked in profits of 1.98bn yuan, 2012 was the second straight full-year of losses for JA.

The 2012 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.

Total revenues fell nearly 40% to 6.7bn yuan.

Chief executive Jin Baofang, who took over from Peng Fang in January, singled out Japan and China as two especially strong markets for the company 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.