5 August 2011

First Solar’s Q2 sales fall 6% to $533m 

For second-quarter 2011, First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which manufactures thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, has reported revenue of $533m.

This is down 6% on first-quarter 2011’s $567.3m, due mainly to lower average selling prices (ASPs) as solar photovoltaic policy uncertainties in Italy, Germany and France adversely impacted demand. It is also down 9.3% on $588m a year ago, due mainly to lower ASPs and a drop in revenue recognized by the systems business, partially offset by higher module volume.

Net income was $61.1m ($0.70 per diluted share), down from $116m ($1.33 per diluted share) in Q1 (driven mainly by lower ASPs and a higher tax rate, partially offset by higher volume sold) and $159m ($1.84 per diluted share) a year ago (driven by lower ASPs and increased investment in the Utilities Systems Business and R&D).
Nevertheless, during the quarter, cash and cash equivalents rose slightly, from $355.7m to $357.5m.

“First Solar continued to execute in the quarter despite a challenging European market, and our 2011 outlook remains solid due to our differentiated and resilient business model,” says CEO Rob Gillette. “We expect stronger performance in the second half of 2011 as we build projects from our systems pipeline, develop promising new markets, execute our cost-reduction roadmaps, and continue to improve module efficiencies,” he adds. 

In late February, First Solar reduced the top end of its guidance for net sales in 2011 from the $3.7–3.9bn forecast of mid-December to $3.7–3.8bn (up 46% on 2010’s $2,564m). It has now reduced this again, to $3.6–3.7bn (up 42%).

After in late February increasing its guidance for operating income from $875–975m to $910–980m then in May cutting it back to $900–970m, First Solar has now cut this again, to $900–960m. Also, after increasing its guidance for earnings per fully diluted share from $8.75–9.50 to $9.25–9.75 (including $60–70m of manufacturing start-up expenses and $15–20m of factory ramp costs, since cut in May to $50–60m and lower factory ramp costs of $10–15m, respectively), this has been cut back to $9.00–9.50 (including just $35–40m of manufacturing start-up expenses and $8–10m of factory ramp costs).

Finally, the mid-December forecast for total capital spending of $1–1.1bn has been cut to $800–900m. Also, after guidance for operating cash flow was cut from mid-December’s $1.0–1.1bn to May’s $0.8–1bn, it has been cut again, to $500–600m.

See related items:

First Solar’s sales drop 7% in Q1; 2011 guidance cut

First Solar grows revenue 24% in 2010, despite drop off in Q4

First Solar’s sales rise 36% in Q3 to $798m

First Solar revenue grows just 3.5% to $587.9m in Q2

Cd PV maker First Solar’s profit rises in Q1 despite 11% dip in sales

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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