ReneSola Announces Third Quarter 2013 Results

renesolarReneSola Ltd (NYSE: SOL), a leading brand and technology provider of solar photovoltaic (“PV”) products,  announced its unaudited financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2013.

Third Quarter 2013 Financial and Operating Highlights

Total solar wafer and module shipments were 851.0 megawatts (“MW”), representing an increase of 0.2% from 849.3MW in Q2 2013. Total module shipments were 462.9MW, representing an increase of 6.6% from 434.1MW in Q2 2013.

Net revenues were US$419.3 million, representing an increase of 11.1% from US$377.4 million in Q2 2013.

Gross profit was US$34.1 million with a gross margin of 8.1%, in line with the Company’s guidance and up from a gross profit of US$27.4 million, with a gross margin of 7.3% in Q2 2013.

Operating loss was US$180.3 million, which reflected a non-cash charge of US$202.8 million, including an impairment charge of US$194.7 million on long-lived assets associated with the Company’s Sichuan polysilicon factory, representing an operating margin of negative 43.0% compared to an operating loss of US$16.6 million with an operating margin of negative 4.4% in Q2 2013.

Net loss attributable to holders of ordinary shares was US$200.3 million, representing basic and diluted loss per share of US$1.12 and basic and diluted loss per American depositary share (“ADS”), each representing two shares, of US$2.23.

Cash and cash equivalents plus restricted cash totaled US$438.5 million as of the end of Q3 2013, an increase from US$405.8 million as of the end of Q2 2013.

Net cash inflow from operating activities was US$79.6 million, compared to net cash inflow of US$65.5 million in Q2 2013.

“During the third quarter, we continued to grow our module business while increasing the geographic diversity of our sales, resulting in another quarter of record shipments and revenue that exceeded guidance,” said Mr. Xianshou Li, ReneSola’s chief executive officer. “We had strong results in our target markets overseas, particularly in the United States, which positively impacted our average selling price. We also explored more extensively our global footprint by adding OEM capacity in more regions and further expanding our overseas sales distribution network to both existing and new markets. Strong overall demand supported growth in our total module shipments and selling prices, a trend we expect to continue in the fourth quarter. In the third quarter, we achieved a gross margin of over eight percent, an improvement from last quarter. We also received certification for a number of our newer products, which may serve as our future business growth driver.”

“At the end of September, after carefully assessing the operating status of our polysilicon factory, we came to the conclusion that our efforts to reduce the production cost at the Phase I facility of the polysilicon factory were unsuccessful. We decided to permanently cease production at the Phase I facility in October 2013. As a result, we recognized a significant non-cash impairment charge for the third quarter. We believe the discontinuation of production at the Phase I facility will help reduce our polysilicon production cost, in line with our efforts to achieve a target cost level that would make our in-house polysilicon production cost-efficient compared to the prevailing market price of polysilicon. In addition, we believe the discontinuation will help reduce our power consumption and depreciation and therefore help to enhance our profitability going forward. While the solar sector remains highly competitive and subject to political uncertainties, we are confident our international approach to our module business and continuing investments in new technologies will support our longer-term goals,” said Mr. Li.

Third Quarter 2013 Results

The sequential increase in solar product shipments was mainly the result of an increase in demand for the Company’s solar modules across a number of geographic regions, particularly in the United States.

Revenues in Q3 2013 increased quarter-over-quarter due to an increase in the average selling prices (“ASPs”) of solar modules along with the growth in module shipments. This contributed to an increase in gross margin.

Operating Expenses and Operating Margin

The increase in operating expenses was primarily due to a non-cash impairment charge on long-lived assets of US$202.8 million, including the impairment charge on long-lived assets of US$194.7 million associated with the Phase I facility of the Company’s Sichuan polysilicon factory (see “Polysilicon Plant Update” below).

The Company also recognized a gain of US$34.7 million on the forfeiture by a customer of a deposit the Company received in connection with a long-term supply contract, which offset a portion of the increase in operating expenses.

Foreign Exchange Gain (Loss)

The Company recorded a foreign exchange gain of US$2.5 million in Q3 2013, compared to a loss of US$1.1 million in Q2 2013. The Company also recognized a US$3.7 million loss on foreign currency derivatives, compared to a gain of US$1.2 million in Q2 2013.

Change in Fair Value of Warrant Derivative Liabilities

The Company recognized a loss from a change in fair value of warrant derivative liabilities of US$2.7 million in the third quarter primarily due to the increase in the Company’s stock price.

 Business Highlights

Research and Development

ReneSola continued to invest in R&D in Q3 2013 to support innovation in its technology, products and manufacturing processes.

Upon launching, the Company believes its Virtus II module product line became highly successful in the U.S. domestic PV market because of its outstanding performance specifically in low light conditions and best-in-class temperature coefficients of -0.4%/°C. In addition, the Company believes it outperforms its competition in terms of power output as its 60-cell and 72-cell lines are generally about 5W ahead of its competitors’, offering greater power density, based on market data gathered by the Company.

During the third quarter, the Company obtained more certifications for its Replus micro inverters and string inverters across its target markets, and is ready to begin extensive marketing. The monitoring system for them has officially been running online.

The Company’s grid-tied and off-grid storage systems received numerous certifications, including CE, SAA and TÜV. The Company’s 70 models of Euro-line LED products received SAA and C-TICK certificates, and 9 models of US-line products received UL and CUL certificates, all entering into marketing process. The Company’s tile-roof and pitched-roof systems received Australia (AS/NZS 1170) and TÜV certification. All these products are available for order.

Recent Business Developments

  •   December 2013, ReneSola announced that by the end of 2013, it is expected to deliver 63MW of its Virtus II PV modules to SunEnergy1, a leading solar engineering, procurement and construction firm based in North Carolina.
  • November 2013, ReneSola announced that in collaboration with California solar installer Pickett Solar, it will contribute over 1.9MW of high-efficiency PV modules to power SunWest Fruit Company’s fruit-packing facility in Parlier, California.
  • November 2013, ReneSola announced it delivered 1MW of its 305W Virtus II PV modules to Hecate Energy, a leading U.S. based developer of power projects. The 3,280 1000V modules will power a project in Georgia, U.S.
  • November 2013, ReneSola announced that, under its contract with NIPPON STEEL & SUMIKIN BUSSAN MATEX CO., LTD., a Tokyo-based provider of steel and industrial supply, the Company successfully completed delivery of 2MW of its highest-efficiency polysilicon modules, VirtusII® 260W, in support of a 4MW mega solar project in Uenohara-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.
  • November 2013, ReneSola announced it will deliver more than 178,000 PV modules, which will be used in a 53.5MW project being developed by OCI Solar Power.
  • November 2013, ReneSola announced its collaboration with Solar Side Up of Golden, Colorado in a series of projects totaling 44.5KW in solar PV arrays.
  • November 2013, ReneSola announced the completion of a 2.5MW solar PV facility near Roswell, New Mexico.
  • October 2013, ReneSola announced it had successfully renewed its PowerGuard warranty insurance policy through August 2014. The policy began in 2012 and provides coverage for all ReneSola solar panels.
  • October 2013, ReneSola announced it had donated solar PV modules to the Brian D. Robertson Memorial Solar Schools Fund. 12 educational facilities in Illinois have received solar PV modules that are soon to be installed.
  • September 2013, ReneSola announced the pricing and closing of a registered direct offering of approximately US$70 million in ADSs, each representing two shares of the Company, at a price of US$4.67 per ADS.
  • September 2013, ReneSola announced that it will supply high-efficiency polycrystalline modules to provide over 3.4MW of solar power to multiple PV projects developed by Panasonic Eco Solutions North America.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Net cash inflow from operating activities was US$79.6 million in Q3 2013, compared to net cash inflow from operating activities of US$65.5 million in Q2 2013. Net cash and cash equivalents plus restricted cash increased to US$438.5 million at the end of Q3 2013, compared to US$405.8 million at the end of Q2 2013.

Total debt was US$831.2 million at the end of Q3 2013, compared to US$909.9 million at the end of Q2 2013, excluding US$111.6 million of convertible notes due March 15, 2018, unless repurchased or converted at an earlier date. Short-term borrowings, including the current portion of long-term borrowings, were US$695.6 million at the end of Q3 2013, compared to US$763.6 million at the end of Q2 2013.

Polysilicon Plant Update

The Company recognized US$202.8 million in non-cash impairment charge, including US$194.7 million associated with the long-lived assets of the Phase I Sichuan polysilicon factory, in the third quarter of 2013. The impairment charge was recognized as the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the fair value of the idled assets. In October 2012, the Company began a process of upgrading the Phase I factory and integrating the operations with those of Phase II in an effort to realize production efficiencies and reduce the cost to produce polysilicon utilizing the Phase I production lines. From July to September 2013, the Company conducted trial productions of the integrated production lines of Phase I and Phase II. At the end of September 2013, the Company concluded that its efforts to sufficiently reduce the cost of production, compared to the prevailing market price of polysilicon, were not successful. After conducting a further internal assessment the Company determined that it was no longer feasible to operate the Phase I facility without a loss and to recognize the impairment charge in its wafer segment accordingly. Production at the Phase I facility was permanently discontinued in October 2013. The fair value of the idled assets used to determine the impairment charge was then determined with the assistance of an independent professional third party appraiser, which process was completed in November 2013.

The Company expects to have an annual polysilicon manufacturing capacity of 6,000 metric tons after the permanent discontinuation of the Phase I facility. The Company believes that the decrease of internal supply of polysilicon with the discontinuation can be offset through purchasing from external supplies at a market price lower than the production cost achieved at the discontinued Phase I facility. The Company also expects to operate the remaining production lines of the Phase II facility in full production and, benefit from lower power consumption and depreciation going forward as a result of the discontinuation of the Phase I facility to be able to keep its production cost at or below its target level, which will make its in-house production cost-efficient based on the market price of polysilicon. Therefore, the Company expects to see improvement in results of its Sichuan polysilicon facility. Such improvement is expected to help enhance the Company’s gross margin in the future.

Outlook

For Q4 2013, the Company expects total module shipments to be in the range of 490MW to 510MW, and expects overall gross margin to be in the range of 9% to 11%.

For the full year 2013, the Company expects total solar wafer and module shipments to be in the range of 3.0GW to 3.1GW, with solar module shipments expected to be in the range of 1.70GW to 1.75GW.

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