First Solar’s sales fall 6.5% in Q3 to $547m due to lower systems revenue from US project sales

Nov 4, 2019 06:08 PM ET

For third-quarter 2019, First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA – which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services – has reported net sales of $547m, down 6.5% on $585m last quarter and 19% on $676m a year ago, due primarily to lower systems revenue from project sales in the USA, offset partially by higher module sales volume.

Net income per share was $0.29, down from $0.54 per share a year ago but an improvement on a loss per share of $0.18 last quarter.

During the quarter, cash, restricted cash and marketable securities fell from $2.1bn to $1.6bn (including net cash falling from $1.7bn to $1.2bn), due mainly to higher expenditure for the development and construction of project assets and continued capital investment in Series 6 manufacturing capacity.

“We’re pleased with the ongoing progress of our Series 6 technology platform,” comments CEO Mark Widmar. “Capacity utilization, throughput and yield continue to improve, resulting in record Series 6 production of approximately 1GW in the quarter.”

With year-to-date net bookings rising during Q3/2019 by 1.1GWDC to 5.4GWDC, First Solar has maintained its full-year 2019 guidance for shipments of 5.4-5.6GW, revenue of $3.5-3.7bn, earnings per share of $2.25-2.75, net cash balance of $1.7-1.9bn and capital expenditure of $650-750m. However, it has increased its guidance for gross margin from 18.5-19.5% to 19-20% (despite expected ramp costs rising from $60-70m to $70-80m) and for operating income from $290-340m to $320-370m, as expected operating expenses are reduced from $360-380m to $350-370m (including production start-up expenses falling from $55-65m to $40-50m).

Solar Installers, Manufacturers