First Solar tanks after huge restructuring charge

First Solar shares are down over 7% after the solar equipments supplier reported a substantial 4th quarter loss of ($US6.92) per share, against consensus estimate of a $US1 profit.

The sharp slump after the earnings release adds to the share’s lacklustre performance over the last year, losing almost half its value.

A huge pre-tax restructuring charge of $US729 million in the 4th quarter, compared to just $US4 million in the 3rd quarter, was to blame. If restructuring and other charges were excluded, the company would have posted a profit $US1.24 per share, beating consensus estimates.

“Despite the difficult restructuring decisions that we undertook in the fourth quarter, we ended the year with strong operational results,” First Solar CEO Mark Widmar was quoted as saying in a company press release.

Sales dropped by $US208 million from the previous quarter to $US480 million, posting its biggest-ever loss of $US719.9 million. The company’s guidance for 2017 was not much better as the company expected to post a loss of between ($US0.80) and ($US0.05) as against its previous EPS estimate of between ($US0.10) and $US0.45.

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