First Solar’s Earnings Way Up From the Prior Year, but Still Shy of Expectations

Michael Teague |

First Solar’s Earnings Way Up From the Prior Year, but Still Shy of ExpectationsPrior to reporting earnings during late trading on Monday, leading U.S. manufacturer of solar panels First Solar (FSLR) ended the regular trading day on a gain of 3.67 percent to close at $47.69, only $0.09 below the intraday high.

For the first quarter of 2013, First Solar earned $59.1 million, or an adjusted $0.69 per share on revenue of $755.2 million, compared to the prior year period during which the company lost $449.4 million, or $5.20 per share on revenue of $497 million. During Q1 of 2012, First Solar had to pay $444 million in restructuring charges.

Revenue exceeded Wall Street’s expectations of $725.3 million, but earnings were shy of the $0.75 per share that had been average of analysts’ forecasts.

Furthermore, First Solar reasserted its guidance for all of 2013, with earnings forecasted at $4.27 per share on revenue of $3.84 billion.

The company’s shares are up 161 percent over the past year and nearly 55 percent in 2013, after what was a very rough period for the solar industry in general. Monday also saw shares for SunPower (SPWR) up 6.66 percent to a closing price of $15.86 per share.

Meanwhile, First Solar claimed it had cut its per-watt manufacturing costs by $0.04 cents on the prior year period, and is confident that more efficient modules will lead to further reductions by the end of the year.

The recent performance of U.S. solar stocks in general has been attributed not only to lower costs, but also to difficulties for Chinese solar companies who are seen as the main competition. Last Friday, the European Union trade commissioner recommended putting tariffs on Chinese solar panels to preserve its own solar industry.

Shares for First Solar had edged up slightly in afterhours on Monday, around 0.75 percent to $48.05.

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Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
SPWR SunPower Corporation 7.22 0.58 8.73 3,675,479
FSLR First Solar Inc. 32.35 2.20 7.30 4,769,805
GBNK Guaranty Bancorp 22.15 0.75 3.50 144,010

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