First Solar, Inc. Beats Earnings Estimate, Misses Sales

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First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) released its third quarter earnings report after closing bell tonight, posting GAAP earnings of 87 cents per share on $889 million in revenue. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 63 cents per share on $1.05 billion in revenue for the quarter.

In the previous quarter, the solar panel maker reported earnings of 4 cents per share. In the same quarter last year, The company reported $1.94 per share in earnings and $1.27 billion in revenue.

Key metrics from First Solar’s earnings report

The company had $1.1 billion in cash and marketable securities at the end of the quarter and net cash of $.9 billion. First Solar used $47 million in cash flow for operations.

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First Solar said this year’s higher net income came from higher profits from its Desert Sunlight and other projects that are under construction. The company also received a one-time income tax benefit of 26 cents per share.

“Following the project delays experienced in the prior quarter, our third quarter earnings have improved, and we continue to make progress towards our financial targets for the year,” said First Solar CEO Jim Hughes in a statement. “Our year to date book-to-bill ratio is well above our objective of a one-to-one ratio, and we are on track to meet or exceed our bookings goal for the year.”

First Solar updates guidance

For the full year, First Solar had guided for and earnings per share of between $2.40 and $2.80. The company reiterated this guidance and guidance for operating cash flow to be between $300 million and $500 million. The solar panel maker also previously guided for gross margins of between 18% and 19% but updated that to between 19% and 20%.

The company expects revenue to be between $3.6 billion and $3.9 billion, a slight decrease from the previous guidance of between $3.7 billion and $4 billion. First Solar updated its capital expenditures projection from between $300 million and $350 million to between $250 million and $300 million.

First Solar maintained its production guidance of between 1.8 gigawatts and 1.9 gigawatts.

As of Aug. 5, First Solar had a project backlog of 1.6 gigawatts.

The company has been talking about beginning a YieldCo, although analysts did not expect a decision on that topic to be announced until next year.

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