Yingli’s Solar Margin Cut in Half by Higher Production Costs

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Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. reported a profit margin in the second quarter that was about half of the previous level due to higher manufacturing costs and a drop in the sales price for its solar panels.

The Chinese manufacturer said it expects to report a gross margin on sales of photovoltaic panels of 7 percent to 8 percent, according to a statement on Friday on its website. That compares with a margin of 14.8 percent when first-quarter results were posted on June 5.

Yingli’s low prices helped it boost shipments and become the top panel supplier in 2013 at the expense of earnings. The company has reported losses since the third quarter of 2011, when the entire solar industry was entering a slump brought on by a global glut that dragged down prices.

While competitors began returning to profit by late 2013, Yingli is struggling with debts and has suggested weaker shipments mean that its losses will continue.

Trina Solar Ltd. may surpass Yingli as the biggest panel supplier this year after raising its forecast of annual shipments to as much as 5.1 gigawatts on Aug. 18.

Yingli in June said it expected shipments in 2015 to be about 3.6 gigawatts. The company will report earnings for the second quarter and deliver new forecasts on Sept. 8. Executives also will hold a call with investors then.

The company said shipments were 720 megawatts to 730 megawatts in the second quarter, at the lower end of its guidance in June. Its factory utilization rate was lower than expected, and that a drop in the value of the euro and yen against China’s yuan also hurt results.