JA Solar Likely To Lose Money For The First Time In 16 Quarters

Declining PV module margins may push one popular solar stock into the red in the third quarter for the first time in four years. On Thursday, Axiom analyst Gordon Johnson said he can’t see how JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. (ADR) JASO will possibly manage to keep its 16-quarter profitability streak intact.

According to Axiom’s latest checks, upstream PV prices seem to have stabilized for now, but the damage may have already been done to the gross margins of JA Solar and its competitors. At least until the government’s ongoing Section 201 investigation reaches a conclusion, Johnson expects it to continue to support U.S. solar module prices, which are currently in the $0.32–$0.34/Watt price range.

Back in April, Suniva filed a U.S. International Trade Commission petition asking for President Donald Trump to be granted permission to restrict solar panel imports under the authority of Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974. Section 201 was intended to allow the president to place restrictions on imports if they pose a threat to national security.

Related Link: Caution Solar Investors: Rise In US Solar Panel Prices Is Not A Function Of Improved Fundamentals

In its petition, Suniva suggested Trump set minimum import prices of 78 cents per watt for modules and 40 cents per way for cells for at least the next four years.

Overseas in China, it’s a different story. Slumping prices in China continued to weigh on global prices, which are not supported by the Section 201 investigation.

While JA Solar managed to top Wall Street expectations in the second quarter, Axiom’s projections suggest it will be nearly impossible for the company to turn a profit in the third quarter.

“Looking ahead to 3Q17, while taking note of guidance on the co.’s conference call, we are bemused as to how JASO will make money next quarter,” Johnson wrote.

Axiom maintains a Hold rating on Jaso’s stock and sees better opportunities for solar investors with Buy-rated First Solar, Inc. FSLR and Canadian Solar Inc. CSIQ.

Posted In: axiomGordon JohnsonSection 201Analyst ColorEarningsNewsFuturesCommoditiesPreviewsPoliticsMarketsAnalyst RatingsTechTrading IdeasGeneral

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