North Coast Solar Stocks

October 28, 2009

First Solar reports profit growth, but revenue disappoints and shares fall

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:24 pm

11:24 pm EDT, Wednesday October 28, 2009

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the nation’s largest solar panel maker, said on Wednesday that its third-quarter profit jumped almost 55 percent on higher revenue. But revenue fell well short of analyst expectations because of a contract that wasn’t signed until the current quarter, sending shares tumbling in late trading.

The company said it earned $153.3 million, or $1.79 per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 26. That was up from $99.3 million, or $1.20 per share, during the quarter that ended Sept. 27, 2008.

Revenue rose 38 percent to $480.9 million from $348.7 million a year earlier.

Profit topped the $1.74 per share that analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting, but revenue was shy of the $528.8 million average estimate.

The company said its Sarnia project in Canada is about 65 percent complete. Although all modules produced during the quarter were shipped, about $58 million in revenue won’t be recognized until the fourth quarter, the company said.

“This is truly a timing issue,” Chairman Mike Ahearn said on a conference call with analysts. “That project has been sold, the contract wasn’t signed until early in the fourth quarter. We remain on track for annual guidance.”

First Solar also said revenue fell from the second quarter because reduced pricing driven by its rebate program, foreign exchange fluctuations and the fact that the second quarter benefited from $27 million of deferred revenue from another project.

First Solar said market demand is seasonally stronger, and inventories have been reduced. The company now forecasts full-year revenue of $1.97 billion to $2.02 billion, in line with analysts’ average forecast of about $2 billion.

The company’s shares fell $24.08, or nearly 16 percent, to $127.50 in aftermarket trading, after closing up $1.36 at $151.58 before the results were released.

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