Trina, JinkoSolar Slash Shipment Forecasts as Earnings Slump

Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) and JinkoSolar Holding Co., Chinese makers of solar panels, cut shipment forecasts for the year amid weaker demand from Europe and slumping prices.

JinkoSolar said yesterday third-quarter net income fell 74 percent from a year earlier and slashed its full-year module- shipment estimate by as much as 23 percent. Trina swung to a loss from a profit in the July-to-September period of 2010.

The quarter was challenging because of “significant price declines and tightened financing conditions, which affected some of our customers’ large European projects,” Trina Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jifan Gao said in a statement.

Solar-cell prices have fallen more than 60 percent this year because of surging Chinese production capacity, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data. Slowing demand from Europe, the world’s biggest consumer of solar products, has also pushed manufacturers to cut earnings and shipment forecasts.

Trina, based in Changzhou, China, reported a gross margin of 10.8 percent in the third quarter, down from 31.4 percent a year earlier, after the decline in prices. JinkoSolar said its gross margin dropped to 3.7 percent from 33.5 percent.

JinkoSolar said it expects to ship between 770 and 800 megawatts of solar panels in 2011, down from a previous estimate of 950 to 1,000 megawatts. Trina said Nov. 3 it expected module shipments of 1.4 gigawatts, compared with a previous guidance of between 1.75 and 1.8 gigawatts.

Shares of JinkoSolar have slumped 78 percent in New York trading in the past year, while Trina slid 73 percent. JinkoSolar fell 2.2 percent to close at $5.70 yesterday, before its earnings announcement. Trina dropped 3.4 percent to $6.23.

‘Challenging Period’

Trina reported after the U.S. market close a third-quarter loss of $31.5 million, compared with net income of $82.9 million a year earlier. JinkoSolar’s profit dropped to 68.1 million yuan ($10.7 million) from 259.5 million yuan.

“The third quarter was clearly a challenging period for both our company and the industry as a whole as the uncertain economic environment throughout Europe pressured demand and the typical seasonal upturn in Germany failed to materialize,” JinkoSolar Chief Executive Officer Kangping Chen said in the company’s earnings statement.

JinkoSolar, based in Shangrao, Jiangxi, will diversify its customer base by expanding in Canada and Australia and explore emerging markets including India and South Africa, Chen said.

Suntech Power Holdings Co., the world’s largest maker of silicon-based solar panels, may announce today a third-quarter loss of $45.2 million, compared with a profit of $33.1 million a year earlier, according to the average estimate of 20 analysts in a survey compiled by Bloomberg.

LDK Solar Co., China’s second-biggest maker of solar wafers, may today report a third-quarter loss of $50.3 million, compared with net income of $93.4 million a year earlier, the average estimate of 11 analysts shows.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ehren Goossens in New York at egoossens1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net.

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