North Coast Solar Stocks

June 1, 2009

First Solar: U.S. Interior Dept. Probes Opti-Solar Deal

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:40 pm

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s inspector general has begun an investigation of the First Solar (FSLR) acquisition of Opti-Solar, the Los Angeles Times reports.

At issue: the company’s acquisition of Opti-Solar’s applications for strategic land rights to 136,000 acres of public land in San Bernardino, Riverside and Kern counties in California.

Actually, what First Solar originally announced was that the deal included the strategic land rights to that acreage. But according to the Times, official from the Bureau of Land Management say that Opti-Solar has only filed applications for the right to develop that land. Applications that had not yet been approved. consider this excerpt from the Times story:

“There is no value associated with a mere application, which could be rejected by us for a variety of reasons,” said Greg Miller, renewable energy program manager for the BLM office in Moreno Valley.

“A company can buy another company along with its applications, as long as those applications are not listed as assets. That would be wrong,” Miller said. “We’re trying to weed out speculators who are filing applications, then waiting for someone to buy them at the highest price.”

As Hapolalim Securities analyst Gordon Johnson notes today, the story has the potential to be “an incremental negative” for FSLR.

That’s for sure.

FSLR today fell $1.23, or 0.7%, to $189.06.

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