Analysis

Why JinkoSolar Stock Just Dropped 5%

News headlines pose problems for JinkoSolar, but its biggest problems are debt and a lack of free cash flow.

Shares of China’s JinkoSolar Holding (JKS -6.60%) tumbled 5.5% through 11 a.m. ET Tuesday on a couple of disturbing international news reports. First, in China, Caixin Global reports China’s National Energy Administration is taking steps “to slow the breakneck expansion of the country’s solar industry,” in particular by curbing “low-end” solar production.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports India is “pushing for self-sufficiency in solar manufacturing” — and planning to restrict solar imports from China.

Why this is bad news for JinkoSolar

Taken together, this is a double whammy for JinkoSolar, as its home government limits its output (reducing efficiency through scale of production) at the same time as demand for solar products falls in India.

But the news isn’t all bad.

As Semafor.com points out, it’s Chinese solar companies themselves who urged their government to curb solar production, so as to prevent over-production leading to falling prices for their wares. So these curbs could in fact turn out to be good news for JinkoSolar… so long as it’s not the one getting curbed.

Meanwhile, in India, Bloomberg notes that domestic self-sufficiency in solar cells is still a ways away, with domestic cell-making capacity only expected to reach 30 gigawatts per year in 2025. (China itself installed 217 GW of solar in 2023, and exported even more.) Plus, India isn’t even that important a market for JinkoSolar. According to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, sales to the entire Asia Pacific region excluding China accounted for only 16% of Jinko’s revenue last year. And Indian sales will have been only a fraction of that.

Is JinkoSolar stock a buy?

No, the bigger worry about JinkoSolar stock, I fear, is the same as it’s ever been: Although technically “profitable,” the last year Jinko generated any real free cash flow was in 2012. It’s burned cash ever since. Plus, with $5 billion in net debt today, Jinko’s debt pile is 4 times as big as the company’s entire market capitalization.

It’s probably not a buy, regardless of what policy moves China or India make.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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