JA Solar Holdings Co. (JASO) swung to the black in the third quarter amid a prior year investment write-down as shipments hit a record and the Chinese solar-cell makersees brighter prospects.
"As demand for solar products has improved significantly across multiple geographies, we are seeing robust demand from our customers with improved visibility," said Chairman and Chief Executive Baofang Jin.
Results were much better than analysts expected, and the company now sees 2009 shipments of 448 to 478 megawatts, including 170 to 200 in the fourth quarter. Before JA Solar withdrew expectations in May, the company forecast shipments of 500 to 550 megawatts.
American depositary shares rose 6.8% premarket to $4.40. They were down 5.7% for the year through Monday.
Meanwhile, Jin said JA Solar gained "significant" market share during the quarter and made further progress diversifying our customer base." Morgan Stanley analysts on Monday predicted JA Solar would win market share from higher-cost U.S. and European rivals, and said shipments could be up 75% for the third quarter and 60% next year.
Solar-power-related companies struggled early this year amid high inventories and weak demand, though a number of companies began to see signs the market was stabilizing in the second quarter. The Chinese market has been helped by government backing for solar projects, but the outlook is uncertain as high inventories weigh on pricing.
JA Solar reported a profit of CNY106.8 million ($15.7 million), or CNY0.66 (10 cents) an American depositary share, compared with a year-earlier loss of CNY142.8 million, or CNY2.47 an ADS. The prior year included a CNY686.3 million investment write-down.
Revenue decreased 38% to CNY1.32 billion ($193.3 million) but more than doubled from the second quarter.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently forecast earnings of 3 cents on revenue of $136 million.
The amounts reported are translated to dollars based on the exchange rate as of Sept. 30.
Gross margin fell to 16.7% from 21.6% even as shipments soared 79%. Sharply lower prices were the reason for the revenue and margin declines.