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JA Solar shares jump on narrower 1Q loss


NEW YORK (AP) -- JA Solar Holdings Co. shares soared before Monday's opening bell after the company said its first-quarter loss narrowed, helped by stronger-than-expected demand.

For the quarter ended March 31, JA Solar's loss available to common shareholders totaled RMB 204.3 million ($32.9 million), or RMB 1.06 (17 cents) per American depository share, compared with a loss of RMB 250.9 million, or RMB 1.28 per ADS, in the same quarter of 2012.

Revenue increased 5 percent to RMB 1.68 billion ($270 million) from RMB 1.6 billion.

Shipments totaled 442.7 megawatts, including 248 megawatts of modules, 189.5 megawatts of cells, and 5.2 megawatts of module and cell tolling. The company previously projected a total of 430 megawatts.

The Chinese company said it got a boost from solid sales across key markets, particularly in markets with higher average sale prices, which increased profitability and reduced losses.

Solar companies have struggled for much of the last year, hurt by a drop in panel prices that followed after the Chinese government pushed hundreds of small players into the industry. New companies still were springing up in 2011 even after Western countries, hammered by the global crisis, cut subsidies. Supplies surged as sales growth stalled, forcing sellers to slash prices to unprofitable levels.

For the current quarter, JA Solar said it expects its shipments to total between 410 megawatts and 430 megawatts. Shipments for the full year are still expected to total between 1.7 gigawatts and 1.9 gigawatts.

JA Solar's U.S. shares rose 54 cents, or 10 percent, to $6.15 in premarket trading.