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Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE:TSL)

Q1 2009 Earnings Call

May 28, 2009; 8:00 am ET

Executives

Jifan Gao - Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Terry Wang - Chief Financial Officer

Sean Tzou - Chief Operating Office

Steven Zhu - Vice President of Business Development & International Procurement

Arturo Herrero - Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Thomas Young - Director of Investor Relations

Analysts

Rob Stone - Cowen & Company

Lu Yeung - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Joe Mahler - Lazard Capital Markets

Gordon Johnson - Hapoalim Securities

Pavel Molchanov - Raymond James

Jake Greenblatt - Barclays Capital

Kelly Dougherty - Macquarie

Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley

Nitin Kumar - Nomura Securities

Adam Krop - Ardour Capital Investment

Colin Rusch - Broadpoint Capital

Paul Lemming - Soleil Securities

Operator

Good morning, my name is Jacky and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Trina Solar first quarter 2009 conference call. (Operator Instructions)

Thank you, Mr. Young. You may begin your conference.

Thomas Young

Hello to all and welcome to Trina Solar’s first quarter 2009 earnings conference call. This is Thomas Young, Trina Solar’s Director of Investor Relations. With us today in unique, are Trina Solar’s Chairman and CEO, Jifan Gao; Chief Financial Officer, Terry Wang; Chief Operating Office, Sean Tzou; Vice President of Business Development and Procurement, Steven Zhu; and Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Arturo Herrero.

Before I turn the call over to Mr. Gao, may I remind our listeners that in the call, management’s prepared remarks contain forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties and management may make additional forward-looking statements in response to your questions.

Therefore, the company claims the protection of the Safe Harbor for forward-looking statements that is contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ from those discussed today and therefore we refer you to a more detailed discussion of the risks and uncertainties in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition, any projections as to the company’s future performance represent management’s estimates as of today, May 28, 2009. Trina Solar assumes no obligation to update these projections in the future as market conditions change. For those of you unable to listen to the entire call at this time, a recording will be available via webcast for 90 days at the Investor Relations section of our website at www.trinasolar.com.

Now it’s my pleasure to turn the call over to Trina Solar’s, Chairman and CEO, Mr. Jifan Gao.

Jifan Gao

Thank you, Thomas and hello to everyone. Our first quarter had many challenges, which our management team and operations, it is best to contribute what we could. With the economy slowdown and a poor weather in Europe, our customers faced a tight credit in all our major markets. So we’ve seen several signs of various improvements since April. Our short-term also contributed.

With the cast challenges, however we improved our operations to make key developments in earliest we could conserve. This includes deduction of our manufacturing costs for monocrystalline; we have reduced our cost to $0.79 per watt in the first quarter. Reduction of our silicon cost per watt by roughly 14% over the fourth quarter.

Increase of existing product capacity from 350 megawatt to over 400 megawatts for cells and modules. Our development and technology innovation in the manufacturing process on the efficiency improvements presume support from European banks and currently over the top quality modules supplied, [Inaudible] European Sales and Marketing to expand our professional team in the Europe. We submitted eight projects in May for the China solar subsidy program. Our focus in ‘09 remains Brand, Cost Reduction and Technology improvement.

For brand, we have a very good foundation in brand recognition in the market. In 2009, we will build a better customer service system to continuously provide high quality product and service to our customers.

For cost; we were continuous to low our manufacturing costs for at least 15% to 17% by the end of this year. For technology, we started to reach conversion efficiency up to 18.5% for monocrystalline cells by the end of 2009.

Now, I would like to pass it to our CFO, Terry Wang to share our financial results.

Terry Wang

Thank you, Mr. Gao and hello to all of you, who have joined us today. To offer you a better understanding of company’s recent performance, I would like to walk you through our first quarter financial highlight followed by the company guidance for the second quarter and full year 2009.

Despite the macroeconomic and credit environment impact affecting our entire industry, we’ve met our challenge in the first quarter. We are able to deliver our respectable operating and the financial performance this, quarter relative to our previous quarter guidance.

Total revenue in the first quarter was $132.1 million. Total shipment was 48.8 megawatt, a 15.3% decrease sequentially and a 65.5% increase from the first quarter of 2008. This sequential decline in revenue was primarily due to lower shipment volume and the lower average selling price, as a result of the seasonal increase in demand which worsened by a harsh winter weather in the European countries. As well as our weakened macroeconomic conditions decreased availability of project financing in the European market.

Gross profit was about $22.7 million in the first quarter, an increase from $20.8 million in the fourth quarter of last year. Gross margin was above $17.2% in the first quarter of 2009 an increase from 9.6% in the fourth quarter, and exceeding our previous guidance of between 15% and 17%. Our gross margin increase was due to both lower silicon feedstock cost and the company’s accelerated reduction of its manufacturing cost per watt.

In the first quarter of 2009, we continue our successful measures to reduce both, our silicon material and the non-silicon production cost. Our silicon material cost dropped more than 40%, which reflect both changes in the poly supply price and our effective management of our long term contract, plus our effective control of our inventory trends during the fourth quarter of ‘08 and the first quarter of ‘09.

Our non-silicon cost was further reduced to $0.79 per watt as a result of continued process innovation, reduction and lower poly-silicon usage per watt through our technology innovation. Operating expenses in the first quarter was $15.9 million, a decrease of 6.3% sequentially. Operating expenses include a charge-off $4.6 million in connection with the estimated cancellation of cost of the two small poly-silicon supply contracts.

Operating expenses in the first quarter of 2009 include approximately $1 million of share-based compensation expenses. We also made a progress in operating expense control by adopting stringent measures related to the areas in the G&A. Operating income was $6.8 million compared to $3.9 million sequentially and a $20.2 million a year ago.

Our operating margin was 5.2% in the first quarter of 2009, compared to 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2008 and a 16.7% in the first quarter of 2008. Net interest expense in the first quarter of 2009 was $5.4 million compared to $6.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. For our quarter-to-quarter weighted average loan interest rate, we saw a drop in the first quarter to 6.3%, from 6.9% in the fourth quarter of 2008.

We realized our foreign currency exchange loss of $7.6 million in the first quarter of 2009, compared to a $3.2 million gain in the fourth quarter of 2008. During the first quarter, we will further expand our hedging measures through foreign currency contracts to instruments, and enhance our natural hedging capability through foreign currency denominated accounts receivable and account payables in our balance sheet.

We continue to actively monitor and adjust our hedging capability based on fluctuation level of U.S. dollars, euro, RMB and other currencies to mitigate possible negative impact of the exchange rate volatility. Income tax expenses in April of this year, we record additional one-time tax payment of $6.5 million arising from our wholly owned local operating company, taxable profits in 2008.

The basis of this payment was a noticed from the State Tax Bureau of Changzhou High-Tech Development Zone, notified us that the early event exemption of 50% tax reduction for our taxable profit represent in a proportion of increased in register capital expires on December 31, 2007.

As a result we will record an additional one time tax payment of $6.5 million arising from Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Corporate Limited taxable profits in 2008. For additional information please refer to the company’s 2008 annual report on Form 20-F was filed with SEC, on April 30, 2009 which is available on our website.

Net earning loss was $10.6 million in the first quarter of 2009, a decrease from $0.7 million in the fourth quarter 2008 and $12.9 million profit in the first quarter of 2008. The net income include a foreign currency exchange loss of $7.6 million and two losses associated with the cancellation of the two small supply contracts totaled of $11.1 million, a negative impact of estimated cancellation cost for the two long term cost income and additional tax payments both, net tax effect was approximately evolved, $17.5 per fully diluted ADS, while effect of the first quarter net per fully diluted ADA was negative $0.42.

Turning to the balance sheet, as of March 31, 2009 we had $194.1 million in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash, an increase form a $177.2 in December 31. Our working capital balance was $81.8 million. Our total bank borrowing increase was due to the increase of short term loan balance from $249 million in the fourth quarter 2008, to $306 million in the first quarter due to demand for supporting our customers with a prolonged customer payment terms.

By April, with efforts we increased our credit line from $460 million by end of last year to $527 million, of which $183 million is unused and available credit line. The company is also developing long term debt facilities to improve our long term capital structure to support our future growth and requirement, this bring us to our guidance for the second quarter and the fiscal year 2009 as follow.

Given challenges presented by limited availability to both generate, macroeconomic condition and the easing of commercial credit for customers’ purchases, we offer the following guidance. For the second quarter of 2009, we expect a shift between 60 megawatts to 65 megawatts of PV modules, an increase of between 20% to 33% above our first quarter shipment.

We believe our gross margin for the second quarter will likely to be between 18% to 20%. We wish to highlight, however that despite of anticipated continuing decline in ASP, we expect that both our silicon and non-silicon manufacturing cost reduction will enable us to maintain a positive expense of gross margin for quarter thereafter.

For the full year of 2009, the company reiterates its expectations for total PV modules shipment between 350 to 400 megawatts as previously announced. Our recent expansion of sale in the module capacity within our existing west campus about 400 megawatts will allow to achieve this shipments goal in absence of large capital expenditure commitment. We’ll review this development as a very positive ability to preserve our cash balances and also offer benefit of high capacity utilization rate given our leveraging of existing manufacturing infrastructure.

We wish to remind that our capital expansion decisions will remain closely collaborated to market demands conditions, as well as our ability to generate positive operating cash to preserve a reasonable cash balance for liquidity and our working capital purposes, plus in the process to get long term project financing as a condition.

Now, I’d like to turn the call over to our COO, Sean for some closing remarks.

Sean Tzou

Thanks, Terry. In summary, we are quite pleased with our 2009 operating and technology progress made to-date. On May 15, we submitted eight projects for consideration for the China’s national subsidy program. Although, this stage is premature to gauge the positive impact or aggregate sales acceptance, this program represent a pipeline of projects which can be developed given our recognized brand and low cost manufacturing advantage to produce BIPV, a rooftop product in-house.

We are also working closely with both the national and local provincial government to help developing China solar incentive programs. Our strategic targets of providing the industries cost leading high quality modules remain to guide our internal improvement programs, to advance our customer satisfaction level on market share and to enhance the brand recognition.

We are highly confident to achieve our cost goals on further refining and executing our technology platforms, as well as accelerating our total cost reduction progress, some various improvement programs. As Terry just noted, this growth is also extended to increase our manufacturing capacities over existing production lines, which over advantages of lower investment costs, ramp up time and operational efficiency.

When implementing our quality and enhancement program. We select highest performance materials as well as adopting the highest quality control mechanisms. We also establish a quality test laboratory with world class standards to allow us to continue to pursue the product quality excellence.

Going forward, we are aware of the difficulties in the market and we will continue to work on while we are doing the best, to position long term growth. We were also working on enhancing our customer support and service programs to elevate customer satisfactions. As we progress in current quarter and the second half of the year, we will continue to leverage the following operating strength.

Cost reduction capabilities, noting our manufacturing costs in Q1 was $0.79 per watt for multicrystalline products and encouraging Q2 tracking data, we believe we are ahead of the schedule of achieving the 15% to 20% 2009 cost reduction targets.

Our increase in diversify our customer portfolio in over 20 country markets. Contract sales orders of exceeding 300 megawatt of our 2009 targeted sales. Lower anticipated polysilicon feedstock cost, via our diversified portfolio of short, medium and long tem supply contracts. Continue reduction of our average silicon usage rate per watt, currently averaging to 6.2 gram per watt, achieved cell efficiency of 18% monocrystalline based on the recent [Inaudible] as a production. Elevating and expanding pre and post sales customer services.

Having said that, we will be happy to open the call to your questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions) Your first question comes from Rob Stone - Cowen & Company.

Rob Stone - Cowen & Company

I wonder if you could elaborate a little bit more on the ASP trend that you saw in the first quarter, and what you are expecting in Q2 and the second half? Can you give us the percentage change relative to Q4?

Arturo Herrero

This is Arturo Herrero, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. I will answer your question. So, in principle we reduced ASP from Q4 and we are managing to get still a higher ASP than some of our competitors, and we will reduce further this ASP, we are seeing further reduction in Q3 in order to also maximize legal volumes. So, in terms of percentage, I could say a range of 12% to 15% of Q2 ASP versus Q1.

Rob Stone - Cowen & Company

The decline in Q1 was about how much?

Arturo Herrero

In Q1 our average is at 20% to 25% approximately.

Rob Stone - Cowen & Company

So, do you see ASPs trending down further in the second half or do you think that will be stabilization?

Arturo Herrero

Well, this is a very good question. This is a crystal ball that everybody is asking, especially during these days here in Munich in the Trina Solar. So what we see is that currently there are lots of difficulties in many companies at the level of prices we activate. So, honestly we’re going to see much more room for reduction on prices in general in the sector.

However, Trina Solar we are in a good position, thanks to our vertical in duration and also our work in terms of cost reduction that Sean has already described before. So we have set a room, but I foresee that when the demand will pick up then we will see an installation of prices.

Rob Stone - Cowen & Company

A question for the tax rate, after this reversal, what do you expect the effective tax rate is going to be for the rest of 2009 and into 2010?

Terry Wang

This is Terry, and Bob I think that we released in the earnings that $6.5 million of one time adjustment that a payment for 2009 payment term liability that we paid, approved booking in our Q1 books and we still entitled to be in categorize of Hi-tech approved companies with 15% tax rate. That’s the income tax rate that we enjoy now, but we also have that overall for the year and I’d say effective of the tax rate we will be below 15%, the reason is we have some of the R&D other inputs and benefit from the tax profit. So, in general effective tax rate will be below 15%.

Rob Stone - Cowen & Company

Is the 15% rate good for 2010?

Terry Wang

Yes, going forward thereafter for a drive in this category for Hi-tech company and we will be in the 15% income tax…

Operator

Your next question comes from Lu Yeung - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

Lu Yeung - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

I have a question for Arturo. As you are in the solar conference this week and you talked to your customers. Can you share with us your order backlog in the second half and what your customers telling you?

Arturo Herrero

Yes, we are attending this exhibition and also being part of the actively of the speaker’s in the conferences on Tuesday. So, we’ve seen and this is good news, a lot of movement, a lot of active DNEs in the market, so this is good sign. From our side, we’ve already in the last two days we have through some contracts and we will announce them next weeks, but I think that’s still our portfolio of contracts as we announced before is remaining 3 megawatt in contract fixed, and even we have been seeing some delays.

Now, we foresee that mainly in the second half of the year, this will be implementing. Most of these contracts are the new ones that we are signing in these days.

Lu Yeung - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Also on the seasonality, do you expect Q4 will be typically stronger than Q3 as product developers are rushing in the last quarter, the year to qualify for the subsidies?

Jifan Gao

This is a very exceptional year, I would say because we had very hard Q1 and a lot of delays, due mainly to the limited credit for project finance. So, what we see especially from unfrozen markets like the USA is that a lot of big contracts and big projects will be happening in the second half of the year. As you mentioned, Q4 we are foreseeing also a big increase on demand.

So, the answer is yes, that we expect and we see that month after month the situation is improving in finance development of these projects and then the quarter-by-quarter will be a situation in terms of demand.

Lu Yeung - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

I have a question on the processing cost improvement. Can you share with us your plan in the second half, whether your continued improvement in the processing cost is due to your mix shift to multi or is it due to improvement in the utilization or is it due to the manufacturing efficiency?

Sean Tzou

This is Sean. Yes, currently Q2 and going forward we did set our plan to continue to improve our product manufacturing cost. We try to improve our product manufacturing cost from few different categories. First of all is definitely trying to localize some of the components, that we will be finding a substitute component with a lower cost.

The second one is the supply chain improvement. We have been focusing on this area and gaining quite a good success on the supply chain improvement in the power supply chain management. This is not only improving the cost, but also helps us on working with our suppliers on the inventory level, as well as the payment terms.

The third one is definitely the traditional improvement from technology, as well as from the process improvements. So, all three areas actually are gaining quite a success from our end.

Lu Yeung - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

One more follow-up is that you have a charge on the cancellation on the supplier contract; can you share with us on that and going forward what do you see in your polysilicon costs?

Terry Wang

This is Terry. The charges related to the two small contracts and the cost that’s evolved within of about $4.6 million and the total contract value is very small. It’s just one year and this year it’s suppose to end, because the market price changed of poly.

So we decided from the operational decision point of view that it’s not just the 502 performed, it’s the contract and the other thing is, if we’re going with this contract for the future, not just because of the cost, but also because of unstable delivery, I think that it’s the company decision to cancel the contract and it’s also actually a benefit for us if converted. If we perform this contract going forward, it might have a large impact on our cost area.

So, I think that the decision’s made and for the conservative point of view, to take a risk and to have this provision, and that’s going to be booked into the operating expense and that’s related to the prepaid, the money to this contract supply.

Lu Yeung - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

So, how many percent of your poly in the second quarter is coming from long term contract? Do you have any higher price poly we need to digest in the second quarter?

Terry Wang

We have a long term contract. In the first quarter it’s about 60%; second quarter it will be increased due to the fact that we have more volumes to come in and the contract we signed with the three categories, and we have major contracts signed with a well known company and the brand name in Germany and U.S. that we signed two years ago, with the lower price around about $60 range. So I think that’s cost effective. The other one is we have a market prices discount in terms of returns, so there’s no risk.

The third thing, we’ll have some fixed costs that we signed for pricing, but that we renegotiated down in this couple of quarters and going forward we’re in progress to making that even more a favor to the market price, so that’s in progress. So going forward, we don’t see so far the risk associated with the long term contract that we have.

Lu Yeung - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

What about your poly inventory?

Terry Wang

Poly inventory; are you talking about the total amount or total price or average price?

Lu Yeung - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Total in both.

Terry Wang

For Q1?

Lu Yeung - Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Q1, yes.

Terry Wang

I’m really glad you mentioned that, because inventory, if you look at our balance sheet, we are very competitive versus other people in our invest turns. In the last quarter, a balance of $85 million total inventory that includes poly material, work-in-process and finished goods. This quarter, which is Q1 2009, the balance of the inventory is coming down from $85 million, down to roughly about $78 million.

Among this inventory, only we had about 25% of total value related to the poly inventory, so not much in inventory that’s related to poly. So we don’t have much risk in the future, if prices keep dropping and that’s why we adopted very effective measures to manage the inventory effectively, since Q4 of last year. So going forward, I think the inventory turns and base of turns will be very competitive for us compared to other companies.

Operator

Your next question comes from Sanjay Shrestha - Lazard Capital Markets.

Joe Mahler - Lazard Capital Markets

This is Joe for Sanjay. I’ve just got a couple of questions regarding your polysilicon utilization in the quarter. What was the grams per watt that you guys were running at in the first quarter? How do you guys see that changing going into next quarter and then also, what was the blended poly cost in the first quarter and how do you see that changing for the second quarter considering the write-off of some of the higher priced poly?

Terry Wang

In Q1, our poly use in average is 6.2 gram per watt and we continue to improve that.

Joe Mahler - Lazard Capital Markets

Expect to see that going down in the next quarter or is that more of a longer term?

Terry Wang

Well, I believe this quarter we’re going to continue to improve. Our goal in Q4 has dropped to about 6 grams per watt.

Joe Mahler - Lazard Capital Markets

For Q4?

Terry Wang

Yes, because this is not only the pure usage of the cost concern. This is actually a balance between the cost and the quality of the product.

Joe Mahler - Lazard Capital Markets

Of course; and what right now is your estimated blended poly cost for the second quarter?

Terry Wang

Can you repeat the question, sorry?

Joe Mahler - Lazard Capital Markets

For the next quarter, what is the run rate right now for the blended poly cost?

Terry Wang

The poly cost, on average we have a little carryover from the inventory side. So it typically is fluctuated in the market. If you kind of assess the market, we have discounts to the market in our long term contracts of material. So we have a blended cost associated with a favor to the marketplace and you can buy six point whenever, 2 gram per watt to get our polycost per watt.

Operator

Your next question comes from Gordon Johnson - Hapoalim Securities.

Gordon Johnson - Hapoalim Securities

I’m just looking at your non-silicon cost here at $0.79 per watt and I’m looking at, let’s say, we assume poly-silicon on average at about $80. That implies a module price at a pretty good margin in the $150 to $160 range or a little higher than that. I guess the question is, why can’t you guys be aggressive on pricing to take share or are you guys being aggressive and what’s the strategy there?

Arturo Herrero

This is Arturo. I will reply mainly for the strategy of sales and marketing that we are pursuing. We consider that this is not a question of price completely. I think there is some other valuables that we have to take on accounts when deciding a price and the turns for the contracts.

You are right, maybe by being aggressive we could get market share rapidly, as some of our competitors are trying to do, but finally at the end of the day you can lose the reputation of your brand and you can reduce the well-known product that we are selling in the market.

You have to take into account also that still there is difficulties in the market; that is, limited credit coming from the banks, and even if you’re aggressive on prices, some of the projects have necessarily to be delayed and this is not helping the market, because at the end of the day everybody is waiting for prices to keep going down and I’m not taking decisions, so we are trying not to play this game.

For sure, of course we are flexible to our VNT customers and our partners and we have in our portfolio more than 50, 60 companies that we are negotiating on a daily basis, and of course we are following the trend of the situation of the market and when we consider; it’s a question of price, we’ll decide to reduce the prices and increase the volume.

Terry Wang

This is Terry. I just want to clarify a couple of more things. One is the 79 for multicrystalline, exclude deprecations is what makes the number correct. Secondly is the quality. It’s always the company’s high priority, that even with this $0.79 per watt and non-poly material, some of the critical volume is still in place. So we’ll keep the high quality standard as high priority for us.

Going forward, and we have room as Sean mentioned in the process technology innovation that will continue to build. Related to the leading pricing was to do this in a sales, but marketing share expansions. Our gross is also our strategy, but we will do it in a nice way to have our cost structure solid, so that we can handle or prevent, downside the risk; that’s our highest priority, not to do the pricing in the market.

Gordon Johnson - Hapoalim Securities

I guess including depreciation, what was your non-silicon cost?

Terry Wang

Including depreciation, depreciation is roughly about $0.10 per watt, so...

Gordon Johnson - Hapoalim Securities

Then lastly, I’m here at the Intersolar conference and I’m hearing some pretty good things with respect to the perceived quality of your modules, as well as some of the other Asian manufacturers. It seems like you guys have a pretty competitive cost position versus somebody like Suntech, but it seems like you’re kind of inline or slightly below maybe Yingli.

Can you help us understand what differentiates you guys from the other Chinese solar module vendors and also what’s you’re hearing with respect from your customers about potential new contracts? Thank you.

Arturo Herrero

This is Arturo again. I think we have mentioned in several earnings calls, which is our main focus and our main differentiation versus our competitors. We don’t want to be compared with Asian or Chinese competitors; we want to be compared with international brands.

This is why our focus has been always to a lot of investment in quality standard, in service to our customers, in local attention with our international team localized in every country that we are doing business and finally, at the same time we are competitive enough to supply the best conditions in terms of price and payment terms.

One of the things that we have been recognized by the customers, in fact we have been able to diversify in many different countries, when all of our competitors has been mainly focused in two of the countries. We have sales in more than 20 countries currently and we have synergy for more than 60 customers in our portfolio. So our diversification means also a reduction in the risk for every quarter’s sales.

Operator

Your next question comes from Pavel Molchanov - Raymond James

Pavel Molchanov - Raymond James

A quick housekeeping item; what was the total depreciation in millions in Q1?

Terry Wang

Sorry Pavel. Could you repeat it again?

Pavel Molchanov - Raymond James

Sure. In Q1, what was the depreciation included in cost of sales?

Terry Wang

It’s above $7.2 million.

Pavel Molchanov – Raymond James

And more of a broader question about your guidance; your guidance for the second half of the year implies that the second half versus first half sales will be 2.5 times roughly what they are in the first half? I’m wondering, in which of the specific geographic markets that you’re exposed to, do you anticipate growth of that magnitude?

Arturo Herrero

This is Arturo again. Yes, you are correct. We are selling much more in the second half of the year than the first half of the year, but this is nothing typical if you compare it with last year sales of Trina Solar. Q1 and Q2 were lower and Q3, Q4 we managed to increase also according to our capacity expansions at that time.

So we are planning to go in this range in order to achieve these 350 to 400 megawatts at the end of the year. Mainly the geographical diversification and so we’re saying we have located our sales focus in more than 20 countries, but mainly the biggest one that they’re taking the module percentage is Germany as the first country worldwide, it still is the leader globally.

Secondly Belgium, the area of Benelux or Belgium Luxemburg and Netherlands this year is especially active, because of the attractive field and carriage and the change in the subsidies at the end of the year. We have very good market share with big customers in Belgium that are not only installing in their country, but also outside at Benelux and also in Europe.

Then the third country will be probably Italy, where we have a good market share, around 20%. Then we will expect to have a big increase in countries like USA, like South Korea, like Czech Republic and Australia where we are active currently.

Operator

Your next question comes from Vishal Shah - Barclays Capital.

Jake Greenblatt - Barclays Capital

This is Jake for Vishal. A couple of housekeeping questions, you had said that there was a $6.5 million tax liability. It looks like the tax expense was around $4.4 million, could you reconcile this? Would the remaining about $2 million be paid next quarter or how does that work?

Terry Wang

This is Terry. The $6.5 million that we stated, it’s related to adjustment for 2008 tax liability. In April, the Local Tax Bureau have just notified that the tax we pay related to 2008 net income need to be rejected, and we were told at the time in 2008 we were still enjoying the Chinese tax holidays, which is related to the investment during the time then. Fortunately you have to adjust it, enjoying some of the tax holidays.

Then the real fixed plan, the policy published and notified in April this year, that we’re not going to be enjoying the tax holiday in 2008. So we’re supposed to enjoy only up to end of the 2007.

So the adjustments that would become our tax liability that we book in Q1, onetime charge of Q1, that’s what we’re going to pay to the local governments of deferred tax payment for 2008, but we don’t have that one, because that’s the only onetime charge and going forward we’re still entitled to pay at the 15% of income tax rate; going forward effectively quarter-by-quarter.

Jake Greenblatt - Barclays Capital

On the non-silicon cost, do you have any sort of stated goal for where you want to be with non-silicon cost by the end of the year?

Sean Tzou

This is Sean. As we specified earlier, that based on the last Q4’s target of $0.82, we plan to achieve 50% to 20% reduction.

Jake Greenblatt - Barclays Capital

By the end of the year?

Sean Tzou

By the end of the year.

Jake Greenblatt - Barclays Capital

Then geographic breakdown, did you break that down at all for Q1?

Jifan Gao

Yes, I can give you an estimation of the Q1 geographical breakdown. So almost at the same level has been Germany and Belgium. When you take Belgium it’s also including Netherlands and Luxembourg, Benelux, so around 25% each. Italy has been 20%, Spain has been 17% and then you have France around 5%, Czech Republic around 2%, USA around 1.2% and the rest of the world all the different other countries, including Australia and China.

Jake Greenblatt - Barclays Capital

D you expect that to change at all as the year goes by or do you think that will be a pretty consistent breakdown for 2009?

Jifan Gao

No, we consider that mainly Italy will keep probably the same level, but Germany will be increasing and the main reason is because as we did announce a few weeks ago, we have recruited new member in my team that are very strong professionally in federal tax and they are mainly based, focusing the German market, that’s a leader world wide.

So we have to reinforce the German activities and this is why we consider Germany to be increasing and we express it geographically. Then for sure USA, that so far we are doing our present steps and the team is still also in progress to increase and we are recruiting people to fulfill our target for the U.S. market and it would be mainly during the second half of the year, Q3 and Q4 will be very strong, with our investment.

We see also China with the new interesting regulation and subsidy to be increasing progressively, but mainly will be happening during 2010.

Operator

Your next question comes from Kelly Dougherty - Macquarie

Kelly Dougherty – Macquarie

Thanks for the detail on the multiprocessing cost, but I’m trying to also get a handle on how much cost went into your mono?

Terry Wang

Mono cost is about $0.10 higher.

Kelly Dougherty - Macquarie

So that would be $0.89 plus another $0.10 for depreciation, so about $1 for mono, is that the way to look at it?

Terry Wang

Yes.

Kelly Dougherty – Macquarie

Then can you just let us know what the split between multi and mono was for the first quarter and where you think its going to go for the rest of the year?

Terry Wang

Mono is about 30% of our product and multi is about 70% of the product, but one thing I’d like to address, mono normally consume less silicon.

Kelly Dougherty – Macquarie

So, that 6.2 that you’re talking about, that’s a blended number for the two of them?

Terry Wang

That is a blended number. Our mono is about 5.6 when below.

Kelly Dougherty – Macquarie

Then I’m just wondering if you can give us any idea, those eight projects that you proposed in China, what the total megawatt size of that might be and if you have any insight into when we can hear about any improvable on those?

Terry Wang

Total of the eight projects we submitted, it’s also relative to Changzhou; it’s about 20 megawatt and we are expecting the government to come out with the answered in the next couple of months.

Kelly Dougherty – Macquarie

Then looking forward, I mean there seem to be some pretty big plans about China increasing the use of solar and I’m just wondering what your thoughts are about maybe a feed-in-tariff on a prevention level or any kind of additional subsides, maybe for gram amounts. Just any thoughts on where you expect the incentives can go from here?

Terry Wang

Yes, we do know. The Chinese government is actually working on certain programs and we are participating in some of the program discussion, as well the program in relation to establish. I believe in the next couple of months there will be a program announced. In the next three years up to 500 megawatt of the program will start, were initiated and some other programs are going on, still in the discussion stage.

So, we believe the Chinese government is actually taking a very positive attitude, looking into this PV industry and in the next three years, we should be able to have up to one gigawatt watt of the capacity installed in China

Operator

Your next questions come from Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley.

Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley

I just wanted to follow-up on the earlier discussions regarding the Chinese market. Could you help us to understand what does the timeline look like; you have filed for these projects? When do you expect to hear back and when do you expect to get the approval and what kind of timeline do you have for construction and completion?

Jifan Gao

We submitted all this programs in mid May to the central government. Right now, Beijing is summarizing that. They did not decide when they will announce the next step, so we do not know.

Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley

We understand that there is a second submission date, end of August. Are you planning to file some more projects for the second submission or would you wait for the results before you decide what to do in August?

Jifan Gao

Definitely, we are working on that; currently with our partners and as well as the local governments.

Arturo Herrero

This is Arturo. Let me just ask that part of our global team sales in located in China as you must know, and they are pursuing all opportunities that we can see in a the next coming months for these opportunities, when the regulation is much more clear and the support from the government is also put on the table.

Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley

Then I wanted to go back to the earlier comments about non-silicon manufacturing cost and I think you mentioned that you expect it to be down 15% in 2009, is that from Q4 of ‘08 levels or it is an average ‘08 level?

Terry Wang

It’s on Q4 ‘08 level.

Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley

And this is again on non-silicon manufacturing excluding depreciation?

Terry Wang

That’s correct.

Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley

Then in terms of your conversion efficiencies, right now when you are producing mono and multi, what kind of conversion efficiency are you realizing right now and how are you going to increase it, because I think you have mentioned that you expect to increase mono to 18.5 and multi to 17.5. I mean just for an understanding, what are you doing to achieve that and if you could start it, where is it right now?

Terry Wang

We mentioned about the 18.5 which probably will be a little bit more difficult for the volume production this year, but end of this year we are expecting to achieve at least 17.5 in average of the mass production level mono and 16.5 on the multi.

Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley

So, when do you think 18.5 can be achieved? Can you do that by end of next year you think?

Terry Wang

Yes. That’s our end of the next year goal.

Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley

What exactly are you doing to get to this kind of a target of 18.5?

Sean Tzou

Excuse me, can you tell again, I’m sorry.

Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley

I just want to understand what are you doing in you R&D or in the manufacturing processes to improve the efficiency to 18.5%?

Sean Tzou

There are multiple things we are working on. There are two three program in our R&D lab. We currently are working on the high efficiency of sales development and currently in the lab yes, we do already see over 18% this kind of efficiency, but going to mass production levels, there are equally concerned of those concerns, but internally we are still evaluating, and there are some other methodologies we are evaluating as well.

However, we saw current technology. They still have quite a lot of room. There is still some room to improve our current efficiency. We are working with different suppliers, that some of the supplier, they will be able to provide some of the material which is more suitable for all processes. So every process may have its own very special characteristics based on the way we tune them.

So we are working with a few suppliers actually on the programs for some of the improvement. They will help us to improve based on the current agreement, current technology, we can do some gradual improvements as well. So there are multiple directions we are working on.

Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley

Finally, I have a last question for Arturo. In terms of the current order backlog, so as we speak now, what is the current auto book in megawatts?

Arturo Herrero

We mentioned before its 300 megawatt. As you have been hearing at the beginning of the Q-and-A, we are signing these new contracts of course as we did in today’s hearing in Intersolar. So, they will be adding up new contracts. You have to take into account also that some of the contracts of the 300 has been delayed, so we are adding new ones, so it’s a little bit flexible and dynamic in this very especial year.

Sunil Gupta - Morgan Stanley

Could I ask you to hazard a guess in terms of, in your second half what will be your Q3 versus Q4 kind if it’s late? I guess you’re planning to do somewhere close to 250 or more in the second half. I just want to see how does that split up in Q3 and Q4.

Arturo Herrero

Well, we can give you a range as to our total megawatt for the year. As we mentioned before, it’s between 350 to 400, so the range will be in Q3 around 90 to 150 and in Q4 150 to 170 megawatt.

Operator

Your next question comes from Nitin Kumar - Nomura Securities.

Nitin Kumar - Nomura Securities

Actually, just a couple of questions; one is that, could you please repeat what is the average cell efficiently for mono and multi? Did I hear correctly that the multi cells had an efficiency of 16.5 and mono was 17.5?

Jifan Gao

Yes, that’s the end of the year, our Q4 goal.

Nitin Kumar - Nomura Securities

17.5% for monocrystalline, is the end of ’09 goal?

Terry Wang

No. Monocrystalline, the goal is 18.5% at the moment.

Nitin Kumar - Nomura Securities

Secondly, given that there is a certification process, so even if you reach 18.5% when do you think realistically the shipments would start?

Sean Tzou

We are actually working with it. I think in our script we did mention about the quality level we are establishing. So in addition to establishing the quality level, we are actually linking up with different certification bodies, including UL and TUV and ICN from Italy, but we are trying to work on a program called residential test program. So we will be able to perform some of the test in our own lab under the supervision of the certification body, so by doing that, we will be able to shorten our entire certification period.

Nitin Kumar - Nomura Securities

So roughly, what do you expect the certification timeframe to be; because I understand that it’s currently 9 to 12 months if you submit a module?

Arturo Herrero

Let me answer, because being in Europe sometimes it’s easier to understand how these bodies work and not only for modules it’s able to submit this improvements and efficiency and the e-class extension of the certification that we currently have. So we are currently working as you know with two, with ITIM in Italy and also for US certifications with Arizona. So, all this bodies are working with extensions and normally the period is not so long.

Nitin Kumar - Nomura Securities

Coming back to the second half guidance question; I mean, looking at Q4 shipments of 150 to 170 you would conceivably need a lot more capacity. Is your capacity actually continuing to increase and if so, what is the current capacity target at the end of the year?

Sean Tzou

This is Sean. Currently we are working on certain programs. I think it’s mentioned actually in our script as well, that with some of the internal effort currently we are expanding our capacity which we announced 350 megawatt of vertically integrated line at the end of last year.

We will be able to work on more than 400 megawatt as of today and we’re going to continue to expand that. In order to do that, we will have to do quite a lot of minor modifications inside our current facility. So with very minimal investment, we will be able to expand our capacity for 350 to about 450 megawatt range, so this is our current goal.

Terry Wang

This is Terry. As of today, we are at the overall 400 megawatts modules and going forward as Sean mentioned, at this time there is a minimum additional injection associated with this capacity expansion.

Going forward by the end of the year, as we’re talking in the market, we still are investigating the study of the market to see that going forward in the next couple of quarters in terms of the demand from the customers and to take out the capacity and the conditions that we have demand and beyond the capacity and we’ll have a financing from the bank, those type of things, then we decide to further increase more on our capacity.

Nitin Kumar - Nomura Securities

Terry, could you just give an idea as to what is the CapEx for the full year that you’re looking at right now? I understand this is like very minimal CapEx, but can you kind of give us an idea as to how much CapEx you actually used for this?

Terry Wang

As of 400 megawatts that we increased from 350 megawatts, plus most of it through the efficient use of equipment in this year and those type of things and without material capital injunction there, related to the current stage of 400 megawatt.

Now going forward, beyond this capacity we will have some capital injunction associated with the beyond current capacity level. That we will determining by what Jeff mentioned, some of the conditions we just talked about.

Nitin Kumar - Nomura Securities

Just one last, is this capacity increase, is it like just for the cell and module or is it through the whole chain, meaning ingots and wafer?

Terry Wang

It’s through the whole line, but we focus on cell and module in answering the questions, because that is more determined on the module capacity.

Operator

Your next question comes from Adam Krop - Ardour Capital Investment

Adam Krop - Ardour Capital Investment

Not to beat the dead horse, but just to follow-up on the ‘09 guidance, I guess given what we were talking about in the previous question, can we expect a pretty significant increase in finished goods inventory in 2Q ‘09 given what we were talking about earlier?

Terry Wang

This is Terry. As I mentioned, we manage our inventory and the fact is that it will be also associated with the production plan, so typically we book our production plan in connection with our sales forecast, so that we will minimize our inventories.

So, if we’re talking about the finished goods, yes, and if we’re talking about inventory breakdown, before in last year I remember that we have single-digits as a percentage of the total inventory as finished goods, but now the finished goods take a majority or most of the three components in raw material, working process and finished goods, due to the fact that we get something ready, so that in the next quarter the demand is picked and shipped to the customer in time to the market quickly.

As we are now to-date, we ship our modules to our European warehouse and ready for even the next quarter’s stock speed-up to time to market to the customer.

Adam Krop - Ardour Capital Investment

So, in other words for 2009, the level of inventory that we saw in 1Q ’09 should be relatively consistent just based on higher finished goods, but much lower than previous poly-silicon, is that the way to think of it?

Terry Wang

Yes correct. We’ll minimize the inventory level, but the finished goods take a little bit more portion of the total inventory breakdown.

Adam Krop - Ardour Capital Investment

Then just one other question kind of on the balance sheet, can you just talk specific or kind of generally about risk of further write-downs in 2Q or even throughout 2009? I mean not necessarily inventory, but maybe even possibly receivable write-downs or other investment write-downs; can you just talk about that generally?

Terry Wang

Okay. Again, besides the company focus on the highest quality and most optimized leading capital structure, the other things we focus is to manage our balance sheet well and both by preserving enough cash, so that we have sufficient liquidity.

Related to writing down, going forward we know that account receivables, always given the current situation in the market and the customers asked for the longer payment term versus the previous quarter, that’s true for everybody, we’ve seen there’s risk out there, but in order to prevent those risks, actually we adopt and to measure that by having to export the insurance company in China, that can ensure that the shipment that we sent to our customers.

So, minimize the default and also the risk, but so far we have not seen any risk from the customer’s sides in terms of payment term, but of course there is some small portion overdue and we get the payment back in, from time-to-time. So far the traction is well controlled in our regard.

So going forward, other written down risk, I cannot say a rollout completely in the risk, but I think that we managed well in terms of the written down provision in the inventory level prepaid and account receivables; that we watch out carefully to prevent any risks happening.

Operator

Your next question comes from Colin Rusch - Broadpoint Capital.

Colin Rusch - Broadpoint Capital

I know you’ve been very active quoting in the U.S., can you give us an expectation for sales next year and a breakdown what you expect in terms of utility scale versus commercial rooftop and residential sales in the U.S. in 2010?

Terry Wang

Well, the accurate way to say that is we couldn’t enter before and mainly because we were waiting for the certifications in the year 2008 and also because at that time the boom in Europe was making much more interesting to sell euro, at much higher prices and higher gross profit, especially when the silicon was expensive at that time.

So, it was a conscious strategy, but you’re right that we now took a chap to put in place a lot of actions in the US market, to make sure that we are getting the market share that we expect and the target of sales there. So, we are right now targeting different segments, industrial and residential are our main focus.

As you know, we announced at the end of last year, one of the largest rooftop installation in the USA, is the conventional center in New Jersey. So this is the kind of projects that we are closing in the next coming months and also we are in touch with important companies that have in the pipeline huge projects to be implement at the end of this year and 2010.

So still our expectations for this year in US, is to reach a range between 40 to 60 megawatts of sales, but it depends a lot on how is the credit situation in the US market and how the bill-outs and the subsidies from the administration from Obama, goods announcements in the past, how they are materialized and implemented in the USA, which is the speed of that and so far we’re feeling some slow moving in the USA, so we have time also to put in place a very strong team to catch the opportunities once the market is ready.

Colin Rusch - Broadpoint Capital

Can you talk a little bit about who your target customers are? Are you working primarily through in China construction companies on those utility deals? Are you talking directly to the utilities and then outsourcing the EPC services?

Terry Wang

Well we are not closing the door to any of these opportunities, however our strategy is always to go with big partners with good names like American Capital as we released in the past and companies that not only they have been very active in Europe, but also now they have as I said very high pipelines in the portfolios in the USA.

So both large utilities, also medium sized companies that are doing commercial and industrial installation of our portfolio of partners, that we have been already in conversation for more than one year and one of the situation is bettering. In the market they are ready to put in place these projects.

Colin Rusch - Broadpoint Capital

Can you give us an update on what your customers are telling you about inventory levels, particularly from distributors? Where they are in terms of total inventory in a percentage of an annual sales basis?

Terry Wang

It’s difficult to answer this question. Q1 has been an extremely difficult quarter for all the sectors, mainly due to bad conditions as our CEO, Mr. Gao was mentioning in the script. The weather was terrible and it means a lot of stock increase of inventory and also because of the limitation of the credit during the first quarter.

Now we can see that the situation is slightly improving, the weather is fantastic now in Europe and we have seen in the last week, a reduction on the inventory in the resource in China. So these are backing by and we started moving on. We are seeing especially during the solar and previously in Verona Solarexpo; in these two shows we have seen a lot of activity and it translates to signature of contracts and reduction on the block that we have been suffering in the first quarter.

Colin Rusch - Broadpoint Capital

Just one final question, can you talk about the activity of the Italian banks providing project finance and now that the German and the Spanish banks have been very active, are you seeing any sort of increased activity from the Italian banks and kind of give us some guidance on what the magnitude of that activity is?

Terry Wang

We are in touch with several banks, mainly in Europe, not only in Italy, but also in Germany and in Spain. Some of them, they have been very reluctant to keep doing project finance, especially at the end of last year and in Q1. Some of them have been active and now we can see that there is much more support from these banks in opening the books and giving project finance.

So we are in touch with banks like Intesa Sanpaolo in Italy, Dexia or Fortis in Belgium or Santander in Spain and these banks has been promoting also and opening the doors outside the current nationality. So, they have been also doing project finance in other countries.

As I said before, now that the situation in the market is getting better, it’s also because they are more active in doing project finance; however of course, the conditions are much more restricted than the last year. So they ask for much more warranty, the credit higher and they are only giving this report of project finance to the first companies in the market and this the kind of customers we have in our portfolio.

Operator

Your next question comes from Paul Lemming - Soleil Securities.

Paul Lemming - Soleil Securities

Two housekeeping questions to start with. First, when you talk about your grams of polysilicon per watt, are you doing that calculation on a wafer basis or cell basis or a module basis?

Sean Tzou

It’s all on module basis.

Paul Lemming - Soleil Securities

Did you get a capital spending number for the first quarter?

Terry Wang

We have spent in Q1 approximately an average of about $17 million in Q1 in capital expenditures.

Paul Lemming - Soleil Securities

Any sense what that number is going to be for the second quarter?

Terry Wang

Second quarter, so far at this time the level is less than $10 million, that’s below our target for Q2, but as a point that we’re talking about and related to our capacity at this time it’s 40 megawatts, and we achieved it with the current capital expenditures in Q1, Q2, but now we’ll maybe spend a little more in June and we will go as the program is in progress. It’s not going to be a significant increase, but in the neighborhood of a little over maybe the Q1 level.

Paul Lemming - Soleil Securities

Could you give us some sense of what the maximum amount of capital spending for the year could be and maybe a range, what the minimum and maximum amount of capital spending you could envision for all of 2009, what that range really is?

Terry Wang

Okay. This is the things that we don’t give it out at this time, but you can say the big range is above the maximum. As a target for the production, the 350 and 400 megawatts outputs, now it’ll support our shipments and by that time obviously our capacity will increase. Just as I mentioned, the minimum of that, 450 will be the case and our average is going to be increased by 200 megawatts more to 550 in that range; that’s the benchmark.

Then we have some capital expenditures that they’re going to spend in the second half, that we will catch the capacity for cell and module level. In the maximum wise if we have to get all the things ready for next year, then we’ll have to spend approximately $100 million of that and that’s for the whole year. So that second half could be $50 million more versus what we already implanted. So that’s typically what we’re talking about.

That’s going to be based on the plan for our project financing from the few banks in China, with a few banks and syndicate loan for long term loan in place that we can spend, otherwise we’re not going to use our operating cash to spend our capacity expansion.

Paul Lemming - Soleil Securities

Last question I had, I just want to get back to this 300 megawatt order backlog that’s been asked about a number of times. Is there any sense you can give us? Is there any help you can give us in understanding what percentage of those 300 megawatt is in the order backlog today, that you would consider really strong committed orders, versus what percentage of that 300 megawatts is subject to cancellation deferrals stretch out.

I’m just trying to understand how much of the business you’re looking for in the second half next year will really an effect that’s strongly committed to today.

Arturo Herrero

This is Arturo. We are having difficult days economically in the industry worldwide as part of the economical crisis. There is a lack of bank support for this project finance as we mentioned before and it is affecting the reliability of the contracts, especially when we have seen dropping prices, quite sharply from Q4 to Q1.

So in a very short time the prices have been going down. So it has of course the industry to have a better IRF and to increase the demand as we are seeing now, but at the same time we have to be flexible, in sitting with our partners and customers to make sure that they are competitive and that still the attractive finance of this project is realistic.

So having said that, to answer your question is that of the 300 megawatts, around 60% is negotiable in terms of prices, even if the prices were fixed. We are having the customers coming to negotiate the prices, but we are positive because all these companies, what we are managing is to increase the volume versus a reduction in the prices. So, we understand the situation in the market and we manage them to come back to us with some amendments was increased volume, if we give them a reduction on the prices.

So the reliability of our customers is a quite high level, mainly because we have been very selective from the first beginning, which customer we have to deal with, and they are mainly companies that are having a good reputation and they have been listed in their respective countries, so we foresee that. After this ongoing new recession we are making that happen, that these volumes are coming in place.

Paul Lemming - Soleil Securities

Is it far to say then that the 300 megawatts, you’re very comfortable that the volumes are firm and that is hoping the question today is of what ASP those volumes will end up being done?

Terry Wang

Yes, we are comfortable with the volumes. We are negotiating ASPs and some spacious payment terms

Operator

This concludes today’s Q-and-A portion of the call. I will now turn the call back over to Mr. Young.

Thomas Young

Well, on behalf of our entire Trina Solar management team, we wish to thank you for your interest and participation as always. If you have any interest in visiting us in Changzhou, we invite you to contact us to our IR address.

Again thank you joining us on the call. This concludes Trina Solar’s first quarter 2009 earnings conference call. Thank you operator; you may now disconnect.

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Source: Trina Solar Ltd. Q1 2009 Earnings Call Transcript
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