Hanwha SolarOne's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 And FY 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Hanwha SolarOne Co. Ltd. (HSOL)

Q4 2011 and FY 2011 Earnings Call

March 15, 2012 8:00 AM ET

Executives

Paul Combs – VP-Strategic Planning, IR

Ki-Joon Hong – CEO

Pyo Seo – CFO

Cheul Kim – President

Dong Kim – Chief Strategy Officer

Justin Lee – Chief Commercial Officer

Analysts

Kelly Dougherty – Macquarie

Philip Shen – Roth Capital Partners

David Epstein – CRT Capital

Presentation

Operator

Good morning and thank you for standing by and welcome to the Q4 2011 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) I must advise you that this conference is being recorded today, March 15, 2012.

I would now like to hand the floor over to our speaker, Mr. Paul Combs, VP of Investor Relations for Hanwha SolarOne. Sir, you may begin.

Paul Combs

Thank you and good morning everyone, welcome to our call. Joining me today are my colleagues, our Chairman and CEO, Ki-Joon Hong; our President Cheul Kim; CFO, Jay Seo; and D.K. Kim our chief Strategy Officer. I would also like to introduce my new partner in Investor Relations, her name is Mia Yong Chim she has joined us from Seoul from the Hanwha Group. I’m confident you will find her both quite capable and enjoyable to deal with.

Chairman Hong will now open with some brief comments about our thoughts on the industry and our business. Jay will follow with some abbreviated highlights of the fourth quarter. Cheul will highlight some areas of focus for the company followed by D.K. who will conclude with a few comments on several key strategic initiatives key to driving the company’s future success. We will then be happy of course to answer any questions you may have.

Before we begin, I’d like to remind you that you can download a PowerPoint file that will accompany this presentation from our website. I would also like to remind you of our Safe Harbor policy, which is also included in the earnings release and posted in its entirety on slide two of the slide package. I need to state that our comments today will contain some forward-looking statements that are not subject to – that are subject to risk and uncertainties. Please review our filings with the SEC for a complete rundown of these risks. Now, it is my pleasure to turn the call over to Chairman, Hong.

Ki-Joon Hong

Thank you, Paul and good morning everyone. The year 2011 had seen an umbrella of addition, growth for the solar industry and for Hanwha SolarOne. The industry value is clear, unprecedented price decline. The velocity has changed in key markets although complexity leading to reduced manufacturing utilization and in some cases even company failures. For us factored in our course leading to the financial losses you can see from our leases.

We expect that this current operating environment continue for March of 2012 and you look for better operating environment beginning in 2013. No one should question our company’s commitment or that of our largest shareholder to build Hanwha SolarOne for long-term success. This will not happen overnight and it’s being – during difficult times that I see.

As you know, we added two key managers to the team late last year, Charles King and CK King. Charles is a proven and seasoned executive and has led successful companies through the worst before. CK has been involved in the entire solar chain of Hanwha Group and therefore signals the importance, our largest shareholder places on driving success at Hanwha SolarOne.

We thank you for your continued interest in Hanwha SolarOne and your support as we mitigate our ways through this industry downturn and work hard to do a company with bright future. Now Pyo Seo, our CFO, will walk you through some financial highlights.

Pyo Seo

Thank you, good afternoon and good morning everyone. As Paul mentioned earlier, I will now take you through our fourth quarter 2011 results. In order to get the call at the reasonable length, I want to run through results for the full year and trust you can get what you need from the release and financial statements. My comments follow along with slides but read through it. Our shipments exceeded previously implied range.

We still got geographic diversification and grow in important new markets. As you have seen from this release, we recorded $94.8 million in non-cash charges including inventory write-downs, provisions for advance payment associated with long-term supply contracts, and some goodwill impairment is negatively affect our performance and resulted in a GAAP net loss of $132.3 million.

Prices continued to decline more rapidly than our costs, which put pressure on profitability. At the same time, we continue to invest in areas necessary for long-term growth. On the cost side, we continued to improve our in-house cost structure in spite of low utilization. Our balance sheet remains sound with healthy cash balance, working capital discipline, and access to necessary credit. We also wrote back approximately $50 million of our convertible bonds year-to-date.

Future purchases will depend on market conditions and other needs for cash. Also some further debate about quarter, PV module shipments including module processing services, were 189 megawatts, down about 6% from 200.9 megawatt in Q3 2011, while our ASP declined to $1 from $1.23 in the second quarter. Note that, based on our revised annual guidance on – Q4 quarter in the range of 160 to 180 megawatts. So we enjoyed better than expected demand and exceeded the high-end of the range.

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