Home Quarter Results Daqo New Energy Announces Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2016 Results
Daqo New Energy Announces Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2016 Results

Daqo New Energy Announces Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2016 Results

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Daqo New Energy Corp. (NYSE: DQ) (“Daqo New Energy”, the “Company” or “we”), a leading manufacturer of high-purity polysilicon for the global solar PV industry, today announced its unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year of 2016.

Fourth Quarter 2016 Financial and Operating Highlights

  • The Company successfully completed annual maintenance and several efficiency improvement projects, which affected polysilicon production for approximately three weeks during Q4 2016. Polysilicon production volume of 2,456 MT in Q4 2016, compared to 3,636 MT in Q3 2016
  • Polysilicon external sales volume(1) of 2,209 MT in Q4 2016, compared to 2,838 MT in Q3 2016
  • Polysilicon average total production cost(2) of $9.98/kg in Q4 2016, compared to $8.66/kg in Q3 2016
  • Polysilicon average cash cost(2) of $7.34/kg in Q4 2016, compared to $6.88/kg in Q3 2016
  • Average selling price (ASP) of polysilicon was $14.96/kg in Q4 2016, compared to $15.64/kg in Q3 2016
  • Solar Wafer sales volume of 21.3 million pieces in Q4 2016, compared to 14.4 million pieces in Q3 2016
  • Revenue of $46.1 million in Q4 2016, compared to $54.3 million in Q3 2016
  • Gross margin of 30.7% in Q4 2016, compared to 37.1% in Q3 2016
  • Non-GAAP gross margin(3) of 34.1% in Q4 2016, compared to 39.9% in Q3 2016
  • EBITDA (non-GAAP)(3) of $17.6 million in Q4 2016, compared to $25.0 million in Q3 2016
  • EBITDA margin (non-GAAP)(3) of 38.3% in Q4 2016, compared to 46.0% in Q3 2016
  • Net income attributable to Daqo New Energy shareholders of $4.1 million in Q4 2016, compared to $11.2 million in Q3 2016 and $9.6 million in Q4 2015
  • Earnings per basic ADS of $0.39 in Q4 2016, compared to $1.07 in Q3 2016, and $0.92 in Q4 2015
  • Adjusted net income (non-GAAP)(3) attributable to Daqo New Energy shareholders of $6.2 million in Q4 2016, compared to $13.2 million in Q3 2016 and $11.9 million in Q4 2015
  • Adjusted earnings per basic ADS (non-GAAP)(3) of $0.59, compared to $1.26 in Q3 2016, and $1.14 Q4 2015
Three months ended
US$ millions
except as indicated otherwise
December 31,
2016
September 30,
2016
December 31,
2015
Revenues46.154.359.3
Gross profit14.220.116.9
Gross margin30.7%37.1%28.5%
Operating income9.616.414.3
Net income attributable to
Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders
4.111.29.6
Earnings per basic ADS ($ per ADS)0.391.070.92
Adjusted net income (non-GAAP)(3)
attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp.
shareholders
6.213.211.9
Adjusted earnings per basic ADS
(non-GAAP)(3) ($ per ADS)
0.591.261.14
Non-GAAP gross profit(3)15.821.618.9
Non-GAAP gross margin(3) (%)34.1%39.9%31.8%
EBITDA (non-GAAP)(3)17.625.023.4
EBITDA margin(3) (non-GAAP)38.3%46.0%39.5%
Polysilicon sales volume (MT) (1)2,2092,8383,092
Polysilicon production cost ($/kg)(2)9.988.669.74
Polysilicon cash cost (excl. dep’n) ($/kg)(2)7.346.887.69

Full Year 2016 Financial and Operating Highlights

  • Polysilicon production volume of 13,068 MT in 2016, an increase of 33.7% from 9,771 MT in 2015
  • Polysilicon external sales volume(1) of 10,883 MT in 2016, an increase of 32.2% from 8,234 MT in 2015
  • Solar Wafer sales volume of 82.8 million pieces in 2016, an increase of 8.4% from 76.4 million pieces in 2015
  • Revenue of $229.1 million in 2016, an increase of 25.9% $182.0 million in 2015
  • Gross margin of 35.1% in 2016, increased from 20.6% in 2015
  • Non-GAAP gross margin(3) of 38.1% in 2016, increased from 26.5% in 2015
  • EBITDA (non-GAAP)(3) of $ 99.3million in 2016, an increase of 70.6% from $58.2 million in 2015
  • EBITDA margin (non-GAAP)(3) of 43.3% in 2016, increased from 32.0% in 2015
  • Net income attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders of $43.5 million in 2016, an increase of 234.6% from $13.0 million in 2015
  • Earnings per basic ADS of $4.15 in 2016, an increase of 229.4% from $1.26 in 2015
  • Adjusted net income (non-GAAP)(3) attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders of $ 53.1 million in 2016, an increase of 93.8% from $ 27.4 million in 2015
  • Adjusted earnings per basic ADS (non-GAAP)(3) of $5.07 in 2016, an increase of 91.3% from $2.65 in 2015
Notes:
(1)  Our polysilicon external sales volume excludes internal sales to our Chongqing wafer manufacturing subsidiary, which utilizes polysilicon as raw material for the production of solar wafers. The sales volume is the quantity of goods that have been accepted by customers, and thus the corresponding revenue has been recognized during the period indicated.
(2)  Production cost and cash cost only refer to production in our Xinjiang polysilicon facilities. Production cost is calculated by the inventoriable costs relating to production of polysilicon in Xinjiang divided by the production volume in the period indicted. Cash cost is calculated by the inventoriable costs relating to production of polysilicon excluding depreciation expense in Xinjiang, divided by the production volume in the period indicated.
(3)  Daqo New Energy provides non-GAAP gross profit, non-GAAP gross margin, EBITDA, EBITDA margin, adjusted net income (loss) attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders and adjusted earnings (loss) per ADS on a non-GAAP basis to provide supplemental information regarding its financial performance. For more information on these non-GAAP financial measures, please see the section captioned “Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures” and the tables captioned “Reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures to comparable US GAAP measures” set forth at the end of this press release.

Commentary

“The fourth quarter of 2016 was an important milestone for Daqo New Energy.  During the quarter, we successfully completed our annual maintenance work and interconnections between our new facilities and existing facilities in Xinjiang at the same time.  We also successfully completed all the construction and installation work related to Phase 3A polysilicon expansion.  As maintenance, construction, installation of new equipment, and interconnection of facilities were conducted concurrently, our annual maintenance for 2016 took longer than usual to complete. However, the combination of these efforts allowed us to start initial production of our expanded production capacity in the first quarter of 2017, months ahead of our original schedule. We have already reached full production throughput of 18,000 MT per annum by the end of February 2017,” said Dr. Gongda Yao, Chief Executive Officer of Daqo New Energy.

“During the fourth quarter of 2016, we saw robust demand for polysilicon products, and the strong momentum continued into the first quarter of 2017.  Based on industry forecasts, the size of the solar market was approximately 70GW in 2016, with demand from China and India exceeding expectations.  The PV market is expected to continue its growth in 2017, with the market size expected to be 73 to 79GW for the year.  In particular, the India PV market is expected to grow from approximately 5 or 6GW in 2016 to more than 10GW in 2017.  With a growing PV market and major downstream PV manufacturers continuing to add manufacturing capacities, this bodes well for continued strong demand for high-purity polysilicon products. In particular, we are seeing a shift in industry trend, with rising demand and increasing manufacturing capacities for high-efficiency mono crystalline solar wafers and solar cells.  This has translated to increased demand for high-purity semiconductor-grade polysilicon, which only very few Chinese domestic manufacturers are able to supply. Daqo New Energy, with our upgraded process and high-purity products, is uniquely positioned to address this growing high-efficiency mono crystalline solar market.”

“Based on feedback from our customers, we believe that orders and shipments of downstream PV module products are currently healthy and strong. We are witnessing strong orders and robust pricing for our high quality polysilicon products from our customers, and despite our expanded capacities and production volume, customer demand is still exceeding our production volume.  In fact, certain customers are now willing to make prepayments so that they can take priority in product delivery. This is a testament to both the strong market demand and the high quality of our products.  As a result, we expect polysilicon ASP in the first quarter of 2017 will be higher as compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.”

“We are also proud of the financial performance we achieved for the year 2016.  In 2016, we had revenues of $229 million, net income attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders of $43.5 million, and earnings per basic ADS of $4.15, all higher as compared to 2015.  We generated non-GAAP EBITDA of $99.3 million and net cash provided by operating activities of $98.7 million in 2016.  The strong cash flow has allowed us to fund and complete the current phase of capacity expansion without significantly increasing bank borrowings.”

Outlook and Q1 2017 guidance

With the successful initial production of the Phase 3A capacity, the Company expects polysilicon production volume will reach 4,300 MT to 4,500 MT in the first quarter of 2017.  The company expects to sell approximately 3,800 MT to 4,000 MT of polysilicon to external customers during the first quarter of 2017, a record high for the Company.  The above external sales guidance excludes shipments of polysilicon to be used internally by our Chongqing solar wafer facility, which utilizes polysilicon for its wafer manufacturing operation.  Wafer sales volume is expected to be approximately 23.5 million to 24 million pieces for the first quarter of 2017.

This outlook reflects our current and preliminary view as of the date of this press release and may be subject to change. Our ability to achieve these projections is subject to risks and uncertainties. See “Safe Harbor Statement” at the end of this press release.

Fourth Quarter 2016 Results

Revenues

Revenues were $46.1 million, compared to $54.3 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $59.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Revenues from polysilicon sales to external customers were $32.8 million, compared to $44.4 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $42.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. External polysilicon sales volume was 2,209 MT, compared to 2,838 MT in the third quarter of 2016, and 3,092 MT in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The decrease in polysilicon revenues as compared to the third quarter of 2016 was primarily due to lower polysilicon sales volume and lower ASPs. The Company successfully completed annual maintenance and several efficiency improvement projects, which affected polysilicon production for approximately three weeks during the fourth quarter of 2016. As a result, both of our polysilicon production volume and sales volume were lower in the fourth quarter of 2016 as compared to the third quarter of 2016.  However, we successfully resumed production in November 2016.

Revenues from wafer sales were $13.4 million, compared to $9.9 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $16.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Wafer sales volume was 21.3 million pieces, compared to 14.4 million pieces in the third quarter of 2016 and 21.0 million pieces in the fourth quarter of 2015. The increase in wafer revenues from the third quarter of 2016 was primarily due to higher sales volume offset by lower wafer ASPs.

Gross profit and margin

Gross profit was approximately $14.2 million, compared to $20.1 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $16.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Non-GAAP gross profit, which excludes costs related to the non-operational polysilicon assets in Chongqing, was approximately $15.8 million, compared to $21.6 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $18.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Gross margin was 30.7%, compared to 37.1% in the third quarter of 2016 and 28.5% in the fourth quarter of 2015. The decrease in gross margin as compared to the third quarter of 2016 was primarily due to slightly lower quarterly polysilicon ASPs and higher polysilicon production cost affected by annual maintenance, as well as lower quarterly wafer ASPs.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, total costs related to the non-operational Chongqing polysilicon assets including depreciation were $1.6 million, compared to $1.5 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $2.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Excluding such costs, the non-GAAP gross margin was approximately 34.1%, compared to 39.9% in the third quarter of 2016 and 31.8% in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Selling, general and administrative expenses

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $3.5 million, compared to $4.9 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $2.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Research and development expenses

Research and development expenses were approximately $2.8 million, compared to $1.0 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $0.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The increase in R&D expenses as compared to the third quarter of 2016 was primarily due to increased research and development activities and process upgrades for quality enhancement, increased manufacturing throughput, energy efficiency improvement, and cost deduction.

Other operating income

Other operating income was $1.9 million, compared to $2.2 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $1.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Other operating income was mainly composed of unrestricted cash incentives that the Company received from local government authorities, the amount of which varies from period to period.

Impairment of long-lived assets

The Company recognized $0.2 million and $1.6 million fixed assets impairment loss for its Wanzhou polysilicon facilities in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 2015, respectively. The Company is currently in the process of relocating the Company’s temporarily idle polysilicon machinery and equipment in Chongqing to the Company’s Xinjiang polysilicon manufacturing facility, and repurposing such assets. The impairment loss incurred was attributable to the identified relocation assets in Chongqing that were not transferrable and could not be reutilized by its Xinjiang polysilicon expansion project.

Operating income and margin

As a result of the foregoing, operating income was $9.6 million, compared to $16.4 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $14.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Operating margin was 20.7%, compared to 30.3% in the third quarter of 2016 and 24.1% in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Interest expense

Interest expense was $4.1 million, compared to $3.1 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $4.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

EBITDA

EBITDA was $17.6 million, compared to $25.0 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $23.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. EBITDA margin was 38.3%, compared to 46.0% in the third quarter of 2016 and 39.5% in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Net income attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders and earnings per ADS

As a result of the aforementioned, net income attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders was $4.1 million, compared to $11.2 million in the third quarter of 2016 and $9.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Earnings per basic ADS were $0.39, compared to $1.07 in the third quarter of 2016 and $0.92 in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Financial Condition

As of December 31, 2016, the Company had $31.9 million in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash, compared to $29.2 million as of September 30, 2016 and $33.6 million as of December 31, 2015. As of December 31, 2016, the accounts receivable balance was $4.8 million, compared to $4.6 million as of September 30, 2016. As of December 31, 2016, the notes receivable balance was $13.0 million, compared to $17.0 million as of September 30, 2016. As of December 31, 2016, total borrowings were $217.9 million, of which $111.9 million were long-term borrowings, compared to total borrowings of $227.6 million, including $129.0 million long-term borrowings, as of September 30, 2016.

Cash Flows

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2016, net cash provided by operating activities was $98.7 million, an increase of 48.6% from $66.4 million in the same period of 2015.

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2016, net cash used in investing activities was $66.1 million, compared to $74.1 million in the same period of 2015. The net cash used in investing activities in 2015 and 2016 was primarily related to the capital expenditure of Xinjiang Phase 2B and Phase 3A polysilicon projects.

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2016, net cash used in financing activities was $30.3 million, compared to net cash provided by financing activities of $15.2 million in the same period of 2015. The net cash used in financing activities in 2016 primarily consists of repayment of related parties loans and bank borrowings. The net cash provided by financing activities in 2015 was primarily contributed by the net proceeds from the follow-on offering in February 2015 and net bank loan borrowings.

Full Year 2016 Results

Revenues

Revenues were $229.1 million in 2016, an increase of 25.9% from $182.0 million in 2015.

Revenues from polysilicon sales to external customers were $167.5 million in 2016, an increase of 33.0% from $125.9 million in 2015. In the third quarter of 2015, we successfully ramped up our Phase 2B expansion project which increased our annual capacity from 6,150 MT to 12,150 MT. During the whole year of 2016, we were running our Xinjiang polysilicon facilities at full capacity. As a result, our annual polysilicon production volume increased by 33.7% from 9,771 MT in 2015 to 13,068 MT in 2016. Our external polysilicon sales volume increased by 32.2% from 8,234 MT in 2015 to 10,883 MT in 2016. In addition, our annual polysilicon average selling prices also improved slightly from $15.29/kg in 2015 to $15.42/kg in 2016.

Revenues from wafer sales were $61.6 million in 2016, an increase of 9.7% from $56.1 million in 2015. Wafer sales volume was 82.8 million pieces, an increase of 8.3% from 76.4 million pieces in 2015. The increase in wafer revenues as compared to 2015 was primarily due to higher sales volume.

Gross profit and margin

Gross profit was $80.4 million in 2016, an increase of 114.2% from $37.6 million in 2015. Gross margin was 35.1% in 2016, increased from 20.6% in 2015. The improvement in gross profit and gross margin was primarily attributable to our polysilicon segment.

In 2016, gross profit of our polysilicon segment excluding costs related to the Chongqing idle polysilicon facilities, was $78.2 million, an increase of 100.9% from $38.9 million in 2015. Gross margin of our polysilicon segment was 46.7%, increased from 30.9% in 2015. The increase in polysilicon gross profit and gross margin excluding costs related to the Chongqing idle polysilicon facilities was primarily due to higher sales volume and significant improvement in our polysilicon cost structure. We sold 10,883 MT of polysilicon in 2016, an increase of 32.2% from 8,234 MT in 2015. Our annual average polysilicon production cost (including depreciation) decreased by 17.8% from $11.23/kg in 2015 to $9.23/kg in 2016.

In 2016, gross profit of our wafer sector was $9.2 million, decreased from $9.4 million in 2015. Gross margin of our wafer sector was 14.9%, compared to 16.7% in 2015.

In 2016, total costs related to the non-operational Chongqing polysilicon plant including depreciation were $6.9 million, decreased from $10.7 million in 2015. Excluding such costs, the non-GAAP gross margin was approximately 38.1% in 2016, increased from 26.5% in 2015.

Selling, general and administrative expenses

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $16.1 million in 2016, compared to $12.6 million in 2015. The increase in selling, general and administrative expenses was primarily due to increased shipping cost, as a result of higher polysilicon shipping volume and higher relocation and moving expenses related to the relocation of the idle polysilicon manufacturing machinery and equipment from Chongqing to Xinjiang, which amounted to $2.6 million and $nil in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

Research and development expenses

Research and development expenses were $4.0 million in 2016, compared to $0.9 million in 2015. The increase in research and development expenses primarily resulted from continuous research and development activities for improvements in manufacturing efficiency and cost deduction.

Other operating income

Other operating income was $5.3 million in 2016, compared to $3.8 million in 2015, which mainly consisted of unrestricted cash incentives that we received from local government authorities, which varies from period to period at the discretion of the government.

Impairment of long-lived assets

The Company recognized a $0.2 million and $1.6 million in impairment loss related to the long-lived assets of its Chongqing polysilicon facilities in 2016 and 2015, respectively.

Operating income and margin

As a result of the foregoing, operating income was $65.4 million in 2016, an increase of 149.6% from $26.2 million in 2015. Operating margin was 28.6% in 2016, increased from 14.4% in 2015.

Interest expense

Interest expense was $14.6 million in 2016, compared to $13.2 million in 2015. The increase was primarily due to the decrease of capitalized interest expense.

Income tax expense

Income tax expenses were $7.4 million in 2016, compared to $1.1 million in 2015.

Net income attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders and earnings per ADS

As a result of the factors described above, we had net income attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders of $43.5 million in 2016, an increase of 236.7% from $13.0 million in 2015. Earnings per basic ADS were $4.15 in 2016, an increase of 229.4% from $1.26 in 2015.

Adjusted net income (non-GAAP) attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders was $ 53.1 million in 2016, an increase of 94.0% from $27.4 million in 2015. Adjusted earnings per basic ADS (non-GAAP) were of $5.07 in 2016, an increase of 91.3% from $2.65 in 2015.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

To supplement Daqo New Energy’s consolidated financial results presented in accordance with United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“US GAAP”), the Company uses certain non-GAAP financial measures that are adjusted for certain items from the most directly comparable GAAP measures including non-GAAP gross profit and non-GAAP gross margin; earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) and EBITDA margin; adjusted net income attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders and adjusted earnings per basic ADS.  Management believes that each of these non-GAAP measures is useful to investors, enabling them to better assess changes in key element of the Company’s results of operations across different reporting periods on a consistent basis, independent of certain items as described below. Thus, management believes that, used in conjunction with US GAAP financial measures, these non-GAAP financial measures provide investors with meaningful supplemental information to assess the Company’s operating results in a manner that is focused on its ongoing, core operating performance. Management uses these non-GAAP measures internally to assess the business, its financial performance, current and historical results, as well as for strategic decision-making and forecasting future results.  Given management’s use of these non-GAAP measures, the Company believes these measures are important to investors in understanding the Company’s operating results as seen through the eyes of management.  These non-GAAP measures are not prepared in accordance with US GAAP or intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with US GAAP; the non-GAAP measures should be reviewed together with the US GAAP measures, and may be different from non-GAAP measures used by other companies.

Non-GAAP gross profit and non-GAAP gross margin includes adjustments for costs related to the non-operational polysilicon assets in Chongqing. Such costs mainly consist of non-cash depreciation costs, as well as utilities and maintenance costs associated with the temporarily idle polysilicon machinery and equipment, which will be or are in the process of being relocated to the Company’s Xinjiang polysilicon manufacturing facility. The Company expects a majority of these costs, such as depreciation, will continue to occur as part of the production cost at the Xinjiang facilities subsequent to the completion of the relocation plan. Once these assets are placed back in service, the Company will remove this adjustment from the non-GAAP reconciling item. The Company also uses EBITDA, which represents earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, and EBITDA margin, which represents the proportion of EBITDA in revenues.  Adjusted net income attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders and adjusted earnings per basic ADS exclude costs related to the non-operational polysilicon assets in Chongqing as described above.  Adjusted net income attributable to Daqo New Energy Corp. shareholders and adjusted earnings per basic ADS also exclude costs related to share-based compensation. Share-based compensation is a non-cash expense that varies from period to period. As a result, management excludes this item from its internal operating forecasts and models. Management believes that this adjustment for share-based compensation provides investors with a basis to measure the company’s core performance, including compared with the performance of other companies, without the period-to-period variability created by share-based compensation.

A reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures to comparable US GAAP measures is presented later in this document.

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