First Solar Is Getting Scorched

First Solar shares are down 11% after a Q4 earnings and revenues miss, along with a warning of lower Q1 profits.

Q4 earnings came in $US0.89 per share, which was lower than the $US1.03 expected by analysts. Revenues were at $US768 million vs. $US969.4 million.

The company now sees first quarter earnings of $US0.50-$0.60/share versus expectations for $US0.81/share.

The company cited lower commercial installation revenues for the big miss.

Here’s the full release:

First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2013. Net sales were $US768 million in the quarter, a decrease of $US497 million from the third quarter of 2013. The sequential decrease in net sales is primarily attributable to lower systems business project revenues as initial revenue recognition for Desert Sunlight and sale of the ABW projects were both achieved in the third quarter of 2013.

The Company reported fourth quarter GAAP net income per fully diluted share of $US0.64, compared to $US1.94 in the third quarter of 2013. The fourth quarter of 2013 was impacted by pre-tax restructuring and asset impairment charges of $US24.9 million primarily related to an additional write-down, due to a change in marketing strategy, in the value of our idle Vietnam facility. Excluding the impact of the restructuring and asset impairment charges, Non-GAAP net income per fully diluted share was $US0.89. The company reported a full year GAAP net income per fully diluted share of $US3.70 for 2013, including the impact of pre-tax charges of $US86.9 million related to previously announced restructuring activities, the sale of our Mesa, Arizona facility and the write-down of our Vietnam facility. Non-GAAP net income per fully diluted share for the full-year 2013 was $US4.35.

Cash and Marketable Securities at the end of the fourth quarter were approximately $US1.8 billion, an increase of approximately $US232 million compared to the end of the third quarter of 2013. Cash flows from operations were $US192 million in the fourth quarter and $US856 million for the full-year 2013.

The Company also provided guidance for the first quarter of 2014 as follows:

  • Net Sales of $US800 to $US900 million
  • EPS of $US 0.50 to $US 0.60 per fully diluted share
  • Cash used in operating activities of ($300) to ($400) million

“The fourth quarter and full-year 2013 shows our Company’s continued progress in achieving the strategic objectives we outlined during our Analyst Day event in April,” said Jim Hughes, CEO of First Solar. “For the year completed we delivered on several key objectives, including additional bookings of approximately 1.7GWdc, significant reductions to our module manufacturing cost, and a strong financial performance. As we move into 2014 the company remains focused on continuing to achieve our strategic objectives to ensure future success.”

First Solar achieved several milestones over the past year:

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