Solar products manufacturer Yingli Green Energy (NYS: YGE) posted record shipments in its second quarter, outperforming the solar industry in general, which is experiencing a bit of a slowdown this year. The company beat Street estimates, but its shares lost some 6.5% due to a drop in gross margin.
Let's take a closer look.
A look at the quarter
Revenue surged 63% in the quarter, to $680.6 million from around $418 million in the year-ago quarter, as shipments of its photovoltaic module increased significantly. By expanding into new markets and increasing its customer base, the company has been able to counter the fall in solar products' average selling prices.
However, operating income fell to $81.4 million in the quarter, from around $88 million last year, as subsidy cuts in key markets like Germany and Italy pulled down the prices of solar products. The company is pressing toward increasing its presence in new markets and also expanding its global market share, and these factors will probably propel it to improve its margins in the future.
Yingli has an impressive cash position of $1.09 billion; this will be important as the company looks to develop its base in newer territories. While most of the players in the industry have been piling up inventories due to weak demand, Yingli's inventory has gone down by 15% on a sequential-quarter basis. In comparison, peer JA Solar (NAS: JASO) has seen its inventories increase by 31% sequentially. This testifies to the fact that Yingli has been selling its products well in these difficult times for the industry.
The gloom in the industry has tainted the financials of various companies, SunPower (NAS: SPWRA) , for example, reported a wider-than-expected net loss of $147.9 million in the quarter. In comparison, Yingli is part of a triumvirate of Chinese companies -- along with ReneSola (NYS: SOL) and JinkoSolar (NYS: JKS) -- that have managed to stay afloat in these difficult times.
Another positive point about Yingli is that it expects its shipments to increase by some 60% to 65% compared to the previous fiscal year, while others in the industry have downgraded their guidance.
The Foolish bottom line
Yingli has emerged as a stable performer in an industry experiencing weakness. The company is striving toward growth by expanding its production capabilities and making its presence felt globally, along with maintaining its position in the Chinese market, which is touted to become one of the biggest markets for solar products. That all sounds good.
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At the time thisarticle was published Harsh Chauhan doesn't own any shares in the companies mentioned in this article.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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