• Solar company was world's biggest panel supplier in 2013
  • Yingli has `the worst balance sheet' of solar manufacturers

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., once the world’s biggest solar manufacturer, lowered its shipment forecast for the year after third-quarter deliveries slumped.

The company shipped 460.4 megawatts of panels in the third quarter, compared with 903 megawatts a year earlier, Baoding, China-based Yingli said in a statement Wednesday. The company said last week that it would miss its initial forecast for the period of as much as 580 megawatts.

Yingli was the biggest panel provider by shipment volume in 2013. It was surpassed last year by Trina Solar Ltd. and is poised to slip even more this year as it struggles with $2 billion in debt.

“Everyone else exceeded shipment expectations,” Gordon Johnson, an analyst at Axiom Capital in New York, said in an interview Tuesday. “Yingli has by far the worst balance sheet, and they’re losing money.” The company hasn’t reported a profit since the second quarter of 2011.

Yingli’s net loss for the quarter was $503.5 million or $2.77 an American depositary receipt, compared with a loss of $20 million, or 11 cents, a year earlier. Excluding some items, the loss of 37 cents an ADR was more than the 27-cent average of two analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Each ADR is worth one ordinary share.

The company expects to ship 2.35 to 2.4 gigawatts this year, down from its September forecast of 2.5 to 2.8 gigawatts. That’s less than the Canadian Solar Inc. and JinkoSolar Holding Co. the third- and fourth-biggest panel makers by 2014 deliveries.

Canadian Solar said in November it expects to ship as much as 4.2 gigawatts of solar panels this year, and JinkoSolar is forecasting 4.2 to 4.5 gigawatts.

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