Trina Solar Sees 10% Growth After Shipments Exceed Forecast

  • Top solar company shipped 5.74 gigawatts of panels last year
  • CFO warns of possible supply glut in global solar market

Trina Solar Ltd., the world’s biggest solar manufacturer, said it expects module shipments to grow at least 10 percent this year after its earnings and revenue exceeded analysts’ forecasts in the fourth quarter.

The manufacturer said it’s likely to deliver 6.3 gigawatts to 6.55 gigawatts of modules this year, up from 5.74 gigawatts in 2015, according to a statement Thursday. That exceeded guidance issued in November for as much as 5.6 gigawatts. Fourth-quarter revenue rose 36 percent to $962 million, above the $809 million average forecast of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Earnings per American depository receipt of 43 cents beat the forecast for 28 cents.

Trina, which surpassed Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. in 2014 as the biggest solar supplier, said increasing demand for solar panels is lifting its shipments. The company is building a $160 million factory in Thailand and said on a call with analysts Thursday that it would be open by July. Yet Trina chief financial officer Teresa Tan warned the solar industry may be heading for a supply glut, especially in China.

“The risk of overcapacity could occur, especially in the second half of the year,” Tan said on the call. That may drag down panel prices as much as 10 percent.

Chief Executive Officer Jifan Gao declined to discuss on the call the offer he made in December to take the company private. The issue also wasn’t addressed in the statement from Changzhou, China-based Trina.

“That’s probably first and foremost on investors’ minds,” Jeffrey D. Osborne, an analyst at Cowen & Co., said in an interview before the results were released.

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