ReneSola Ltd announced its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018.
Mr. Xianshou Li, ReneSola's Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We started 2018 with solid performance across our business as a result of continued strong execution of our strategy. First quarter revenue exceeded our expectations and operating margin expanded significantly from the fourth quarter of 2017, resulting in a sequential increase in net income of over 200%."
Li continued, "Our overall global project pipeline remains solid at around 1.1GW. In the first quarter, we successfully installed 6.3MW of rooftop projects in China and 6.8MW of ground-mount projects in North Carolina. As we look to the remainder of 2018, we remain optimistic about the business opportunities across different geographies. In addition, the fundamentals for our project business have significantly improved over the last few quarters, and we will maintain our commitment to growing profitably, managing our operations and strengthening our financial position."
First Quarter 2018 Highlights
- Revenue was $44.8 million, compared to the raised guidance range of $40 million to $45 million;
- Gross margin was 18.7%, compared to 10.5% in Q4 2017;
- Income before income tax and noncontrolling interests was $5.4 million, compared to an income of $2.0 million in Q4 2017 and a loss of $3.2 million in Q1 2017;
- Recognized revenue of $31.8 million from Project Development business, mainly from sales of utility solar projects in the United Kingdom;
- Recognized revenue of $8.7 million from EPC services for 15.8MW of DG projects in China;
- Recognized revenue from the sale of electricity of $4.2 million;
- Installed 6.3MW of rooftop projects in China and 6.8MW of ground-mount projects in North Carolina, United States; and
- Solar power project pipeline of approximately 1.1GW, of which 748MW are late-stage.
First Quarter 2018 Financial Results
Revenue was $44.8 million, compared to $64.8 million in Q4 2017 and $0.2 million in Q1 2017.
- Revenue from the Project Development business was $31.8 million as we recognized revenue from sales of utility projects in the United Kingdom that were recorded as deferred project revenue in the amount of $20.8 million as of December 31, 2017 due to the contingency consideration of the substantive return right of the customer under ASC 360 Real Estate Sales and recognized as revenue in the amount of $21.9 million in Q1 2018 with the final price adjustment upon the issuance of the final acceptance certificate (FAC) and all revenue recognition criteria is met upon adoption of ASC 606.
- Revenue from the EPC business was $8.7 million as we recognized revenue from the provision of EPC services of 15.8MW in China.
- Revenue from the sale of electricity was $4.2 million. The Company generated 28.4 million kwh of electricity from its operating projects in China during the quarter.
Gross profit was $8.4 million, compared to a gross profit of $6.8 million in Q4 2017 and a loss of $0.2 million in Q1 2017. Gross margin was 18.7%, compared to 10.5% in Q4 2017, mainly due to the improved margin from overseas project development business and EPC business in China.
Operating expenses were $2.5 million, up from $1.9 million in Q4 2017 and from $1.3 million in Q1 2017. Sales and marketing expenses were $0.1 million, down from $0.6 million in Q4 2017, mainly due to reduced commission expenses associated with sale of green certificates. General and administrative expenses were $2.4 million, up from $1.7 million in Q4 2017, mainly due to the increased salary expenses associated with additional new hires.
Operating income was $5.9 million, compared to an operating income of $4.9 million in Q4 2017 and an operating loss of $1.5 million in Q1 2017.
Total non-operating expenses of $0.4 million included interest expenses of $1.5 million and foreign exchange gain of $1.1 million, mainly driven by theh appreciation of EUR against USD and KRW.
Income before income tax and noncontrolling interests was $5.4 million, compared to an income of $2.0 million in Q4 2017 and a loss of $3.2 million in Q1 2017.
Net income was $5.4 million, compared to an income of $1.7 million in Q4 2017 and a loss of $3.2 million in Q1 2017.
The Company had cash and cash equivalents of $10.9 million as of March 31, 2018, compared to $13.4 million as of December 31, 2017. Long-term borrowings were $32.7 million as of March 31, 2018, compared to $32.5 million as of December 31, 2017. Long-term failed sale-lease back and capital lease liabilities, associated with the financial leasing payables for rooftop projects in China, were $78.2 million as of March 31, 2018, compared to $67.5 million as of December 31, 2017, the increase was mainly due to the corresponding growth of the Company's DG operating assets.
Recent Business Updates
- On June 20, 2018, the Company announced the closing of the sale of its utility-scale project located in North Carolina to New York-based Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company, LLC ("Greenbacker"), a publicly registered, non-traded Limited Liability Company focused on investments in renewable energy power plants and energy efficiency projects as well as other sustainable investments. The North Carolina project has a capacity of 6.75 MW and represents ReneSola's second project sale to Greenbacker. The first project sale to Greenbacker was completed in April 2017.
- In June, Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund ("Sequoia") had agreed to extend senior debt facility to 36 million euro for ReneSola's 55MW of projects in Poland, each with a capacity of 1MW. In December 2017, Sequoia, which invests in a diversified portfolio of senior and subordinated economic infrastructure debt investments, provided a senior loan of 15 million euro for all of ReneSola's 55MW projects in the region.
- The Company announced the appointment of Xiaoliang Liang as Chief Financial Officer, effective June 1, 2018. Mr. Liang brings to ReneSola more than 18 years of experience developing, financing and managing projects with a focus on renewable energy, including solar, wind, hydro and other infrastructure sectors.
- In May 2018, the Company closed an equity investment agreement with a strategic investor. The investor will invest RMB 200 million in cash to acquire 40.13% of Zhejiang ReneSola Investment Limited, the Company's subsidiary that holds the Company's distributed generation projects in China.
Operating Assets and Completed Projects for Sale
The Company continues to pursue opportunities in small-scale projects in diversified regions and believes its strategy can capitalize on trends in solar energy development. ReneSola currently owns over 193MW of rooftop projects in operation, which are concentrated in a handful of eastern provinces of China with attractive development environments. As of March 31, 2018, the Company had over 27MW of rooftop projects under construction.
As of March 31, 2018, the Company currently has 10.4 MW of completed projects, which are currently in sale process.
For the second quarter of 2018, the Company's project business is expected to generate revenue in the range of $20 to $30 million and overall gross margin in the range of 20% to 25%. During the second quarter of 2018, the Company expects to connect 15MW to 20MW of DG projects in China, and to monetize 6.8MW projects in international markets.
For 2018, the Company expects to generate revenue in the range of $130 to $140 million with overall gross margin in the range of 20 to 25%. The Company intends to connect 100MW to 150MW of DG projects in China, and to monetize 80MW to 100MW projects in international markets.