Canadian Solar Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Results

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Canadian Solar Inc., one of the world’s largest solar power companies, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2019.

Fourth Quarter 2019 Highlights

  • Total module shipments were 2.5 GW, compared to 2.4 GW in the third quarter of 2019 and fourth quarter 2019 guidance of 2.3 GW to 2.4 GW.
  • Net revenue was $920 million, compared to $760 million in the third quarter of 2019 and fourth quarter 2019 guidance of $850 million to $880 million.
  • Gross profit was $230 million. Gross margin was 25.0%, compared to 26.2% in the third quarter of 2019 and fourth quarter 2019 guidance of 19% to 21%. Gross margin was 24.3% excluding the benefit of a U.S. anti-dumping (“AD”) and countervailing duty (“CVD”) true-up of $6.4 million.
  • Net income attributable to Canadian Solar was $67.7 million, or $1.12 per diluted share, compared to $58.3 million, or $0.96 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2019.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities was approximately $247 million, compared to $22 million in the third quarter of 2019.
  • As of January 31, 2020, the Company’s portfolio of utility-scale solar power plants in operation was 880.2 MWp with an estimated total resale value of approximately $1 billion.
  • The Company’s board of directors authorized a $150 million share repurchase program for a six month-period beginning December 9, 2019.

Full Year 2019 Results 

  • Total module shipments were 8.6 GW, compared to 6.6 GW in 2018 and guidance of 8.4 GW to 8.5 GW.
  • Net revenue was $3.20 billion, compared to $3.74 billion in 2018 and guidance of $3.13 billion to $3.16 billion.
  • Net income attributable to Canadian Solar was $171.6 million, or $2.83 per diluted share, compared to $237.1 million, or $3.88 per diluted share in 2018.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities was approximately $600 million, compared to $216 million in 2018.

Fourth Quarter 2019 Results

Net revenue in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $920 million, compared to $760 million in the third quarter of 2019, and $901 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. The sequential increase was due to higher shipments recognized in revenue, stable module average selling price (“ASP”) and the ongoing monetization of solar power plants.

Total module shipments in the fourth quarter of 2019 were 2,474 MW, compared to 2,387 MW in the third quarter of 2019 and fourth quarter 2019 guidance of 2,300 MW to 2,400 MW. This included 295 MW for the Company’s utility-scale solar power projects.

Gross profit in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $230 million, compared to $199 million in the third quarter of 2019 and $271 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. The benefit of the AD/CVD true-up was $6.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, $24 million in the third quarter of 2019 and $16 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Gross margin in the fourth quarter of 2019 was 25.0%, compared to 26.2% in the third quarter of 2019, 30.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and fourth quarter 2019 guidance of 19% to 21%. The improvement was due to a stable ASP and lower manufacturing costs.

Income from operations in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $111 million, compared to $80 million in the third quarter of 2019, and $137 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Operating margin was 12.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to 10.5% in the third quarter of 2019 and 15.2% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Non-cash depreciation and amortization charges in the fourth quarter of 2019 were $45 million, compared to $37 million in the third quarter of 2019 and $32 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The Company uses derivative instruments to hedge its foreign exchange positions. In the fourth quarter of 2019, the Company recorded a $6.6 million loss on the change in fair value of derivatives used in the Company’s foreign exchange hedging program, partly offset by the foreign exchange gain of $4 million. The net effect of the currency moves and hedging was a $2.6 million loss during the fourth quarter, compared to a $0.5 million gain in the third quarter of 2019 and a net zero effect in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Net income attributable to Canadian Solar on a GAAP basis in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $67.7 million, or $1.12 per diluted share, compared to net income of $58.3 million, or $0.96 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2019, and net income of $111.6 million, or $1.81 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2018. Net income attributable to Canadian Solar on a non-GAAP basis in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $63 million, or $1.04 per diluted share. This excludes the benefit of the AD/CVD true-up during the quarter of $6.4 million, net of income tax effect. For a reconciliation of results under GAAP to non-GAAP results, see the accompanying table “About Non-GAAP Financial Measures”.

Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “I am pleased with the strong 2019 results, as revenue and gross margin were both ahead of expectations. The strategic decisions we made in R&D and production capacity helped us achieve one of the industry’s highest margins, as we build upon our strong brand and maintain pricing power. We continue to be an innovation leader, recently setting another world record in cell conversion efficiency of 23.81% for N-type, large-area, multi-crystalline silicon solar cells. This further extends our competitive advantage, as we deliver modules with mono-like efficiencies at an attractive ASP. Along with the rest of the world, we have been working hard to ensure the health and safety of our employees in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe Canadian Solar’s proven 19-year track record and the robust, conservative nature of our long-term strategy will allow the Company to emerge stronger from the current period of uncertainty.”

Yan Zhuang, Acting Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We achieved strong results in Q4 and the full year 2019. On the Module and Systems Solutions side, 2019 module shipments grew by almost 30% year-over-year, while underlying gross margin increased by 480 basis points (excluding the benefit of the AD/CVD true-up), resulting in a highly profitable Q4. On the Energy side, we continue to grow and monetize our operating solar assets and pipeline, which currently stand at 880 MWp and 15.4 GWp, respectively. Strategically, we are evaluating ways to capture more value by retaining partial ownership in selected solar project assets we develop to create higher, more predictable and more profitable revenues, thereby creating additional value for the Company and its shareholders. Meanwhile, we have set up a global team focusing on system integration and energy storage, which will help to build the new technology DNA of the Company and lead the next wave of growth in this industry.”

Dr. Huifeng Chang, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, added: “In Q4, we delivered $230 million of gross profit and $67.7 million of net income, both sequentially higher than the previous quarter driven by higher module sales, stable ASPs, lower costs and increased project sales. We generated $247 million of operating cash flow and increased our total cash position to $1.2 billion. We also reduced total debt to $1.95 billion, and lengthened its average maturity. Our liquidity is healthy and our balance sheet continues to improve. We are proactively taking contingency measures to preserve cash and minimize risk, should the macro situation deteriorate further. Likewise, our financial plan has the flexibility to quickly switch gears if the global economy recovers faster than expected. We plan to continue with our stock repurchase program to create extra value for shareholders as recent COVID-19-related panic-selling has brought our equity valuation below book value.”

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