Published on October 31st, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill0
First Solar Shares Skyrocket On Back Of Strong Third Quarter Results
October 31st, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
American solar PV manufacturer First Solar saw its shares jump 20% on the back of strong third quarter financial results which saw the company report net sales of $1.1 billion, an increase of $464 million over the second quarter.
First Solar published its third quarter financial results last week, revealing net sales of $1.1 billion for the third quarter — up significantly on the second quarter’s $623 million and the $681 million take in during the third quarter in 2016. However, it is also important to note that this year’s third quarter earnings represented a return to form after net sales dropped from $829 million in the first quarter of 2017 to $623 million in the second quarter. Further, the massive increase in net sales for the third quarter was due primarily to the sale of First Solar’s California Flats and Cuyama projects, as well as higher third-party module sales.
First Solar also reported third quarter earnings per share of $1.95, well up on the $0.50 recorded in the previous quarter. The company took in net bookings of 4.5 gigawatts (GW), bringing its year-to-date bookings up to 6.7 GW. Cash and marketable securities at the end of the third quarter increased to $2.7 billion from $2.2 billion in the prior quarter, due primarily to cash received from projects sold.
“Third quarter results were highlighted by record bookings and strong earnings resulting from the sale of our California Flats project,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. “Our 4.5 GWdc of bookings demonstrates both the robust market demand for our Series 4 and Series 6 module technology, and the acceleration of procurement timing by certain customers. Closing the sale of our California Flats project was also an important milestone toward achieving our financial guidance for the year. While we are pleased with our recent results, we continue to be intently focused on the success of our Series 6 transition.”
Based on its third quarter performance First Solar is slightly modifying its 2017 guidance, leaving its guidance for net sales of between $3.0 billion to $3.1 billion and shipments of between 2.6 GW to 2.7 GW intact, but tweaking its guidance for operating expenses and income, as well as increasing its guidance for earnings per share from between $1.55 to $2.20 up to a solid $2.05 to $2.30.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, on the back of extremely strong net sales and healthy forward-looking guidance, First Solar’s shares took an astronomical jump on Friday and continued to increase through Monday as well. The company’s shares started Friday the 27th at $47.92 before jumping and sitting as of writing at $60.56 — an increase of around 20% on Friday and an overall increase of more than 25%.
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