UPDATE 2-JinkoSolar posts first profit in nearly two years
* Raises 2013 panel shipment outlook to 1.5-1.7 GW from 1.2-1.5 GW
* 2nd-quarter profit $0.36/ADS, vs $2.20 loss/ADS year ago
* Shares rise 15 pct, touch near 2-year high
(Adds analyst, executive comments, details on 2nd-quarter results; updates shares)
Aug 14 (Reuters) - JinkoSolar Holding Co Ltd swung to a profit after seven quarters of losses due to demand from newer solar markets, making it the first Chinese solar panel maker to return to the black after a two-year slump in prices.
Shares of JinkoSolar, which also said it expects to report a full-year profit, rose 15 percent to a near two-year high.
Panel prices fell by two thirds over the past couple of years, caused by oversupply and loss of demand in Europe, the top solar market.
JinkoSolar, like its rivals, has reduced its reliance on Europe and expanded into markets such as China, Japan, United States, South Africa and India.
Demand from these markets pushed up JinkoSolar's total solar product shipments by 62 percent to 489.2 megawatts (MW) in the second quarter ended June 30.
JinkoSolar raised its panel shipment outlook for the year to 1.5-1.7 gigawatts (GW) from 1.2-1.5 GW. It also said it expects to complete 200 MW to 300 MW of solar power projects by the end of year.
The company, like bigger peer Canadian Solar Inc, is looking to expand into the more lucrative business of building power plants to reduce dependence on low-margin solar product sales.
A rush to complete power projects before a change in feed-in-tariffs was driving up demand and prices in China, a JinkoSolar executive said on a conference call with analysts.
JinkoSolar completed three utility-scale projects in China in the second quarter.
China has unveiled a number of measures to prop up its flailing domestic solar industry and plans to nearly quadruple installed solar power capacity to 35 GW by 2015.
JinkoSolar's gross margin jumped to 17.7 percent in the second quarter, from 8.4 percent a year earlier, as cost reductions helped make up for the fall in panel prices.
Rivals Trina Solar Ltd and Yingli Green Energy Holding last week said they expect second-quarter shipments and gross margins to be higher than their forecasts.
Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov, however, said JinkoSolar was an exception and that almost no other pure-play Chinese solar company was likely to be profitable in the second quarter.
Net income attributable to JinkoSolar shareholders was $8 million, or 36 cents per American Depositary Share (ADS), in the second quarter, compared with a net loss of $48.9 million, or $2.20 per ADS, a year earlier.
Revenue rose nearly 43 percent to $287.6 million.
JinkoSolar shares were up 9 percent at $14.75 in morning trading. The stock, the top gainer on the New York Stock Exchange, touched a high of $15.59.
(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Maju Samuel)