UPDATE 2-JA Solar follows rivals to profitability as China demand rises

Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:20pm EDT
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* Posts first profit in 10 quarters

* Says Japan to drive growth in 2014

* Forecasts higher 2014 shipments

* Shares rise as much as 15 pct to 2-year high

By Sayantani Ghosh

March 17 (Reuters) - Strong demand from China propelled JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd to its first profit in 10 quarters, and the company forecast higher shipments for the year, sending its shares up as much as 15 percent to their highest in more than two years.

Solar companies such as Trina Solar Ltd, Canadian Solar Inc and JinkoSolar Holding Co Ltd have returned to profitability while others have cut losses, as panel prices stabilized after a four-year decline.

Withdrawal of consumer subsidies in top market Europe and excess manufacturing capacity in China had sent the solar market into an extended downturn.

"We continued to perform well in all of our key regions in the fourth quarter, notably China, which is proving to be one of the cornerstone markets of global solar demand," Chief Executive Baofang Jin said in a statement on Monday.   Continued...