TEMPE, Ariz., Apr 28, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended March 27, 2010. Quarterly net sales were $568.0 million, up 36% from $418.2 million in the first quarter of 2009, mainly due to strong PV module demand and increased production, partially offset by a decline in pricing. First quarter 2010 net sales declined $73.3 million from the fourth quarter of 2009 primarily due to a shift from turnkey system sales to module sales.
The first quarter 2010 net income was $172.3 million or $2.00 per fully diluted share, up from the prior year of $164.6 million or $1.99 per fully diluted share, which included a $0.14 per share one-time tax benefit related to our Malaysian tax holiday. Net income for the first quarter was up from $141.6 million or $1.65 per fully diluted share for the fourth quarter 2009 because of higher volumes, increased module prices and the absence of certain non-recurring expenses.
The First Solar Board of Directors has approved an additional four line manufacturing plant with an annual capacity of over 220 MW at the first quarter 2010 line run-rate. The plant is expected to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2011.
For 2010, First Solar forecasts net sales of $2.6 to $2.7 billion, reflecting reallocation of module capacity from our systems business to meet stronger module demand by our European customers. Earnings per fully diluted share are projected in the range of $6.80 to $7.30, and include $0.09-0.10 per share dilution for the pending acquisition of NextLight Renewable Power, LLC. Total capital spending is projected to be $625 to $650 million. The company expects to generate $725 to $775 million of operating cash flow. First Solar has posted its First Quarter Earnings Call Presentation, which includes guidance for fiscal 2010 and additional details regarding the key assumptions relating to this guidance, in the Investor section of its website at http://www.firstsolar.com.
First Solar will discuss these results and outlook for fiscal 2010 in a conference call scheduled for today at 1:30 p.m. MST (4:30 p.m. EDT). Investors may access a live audio webcast of this conference call and the earnings call presentation in the investors section of the Company's web site at http://www.firstsolar.com.
An audio replay of the conference call will also be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call. The audio replay will remain available until Monday, May 3, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EDT and can be accessed by dialing 888-203-1112 if you are calling from within the United States or 719-457-0820 if you are calling from outside the United States and entering the replay pass code 9534574. A replay of the webcast will be available on the Investor section on the Company's web site approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call and remain available for approximately 90 calendar days. If you are a subscriber of FactSet or Thomson One, you can obtain a written transcript within 2 hours.
About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology and provides comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) system solutions. The company is delivering an economically viable alternative to fossil-fuel generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life collection and recycling, First Solar is focused on creating cost-effective, renewable energy solutions that protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit http://www.firstsolar.com.
For First Solar Investors:
This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements in this release do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Those statements involve a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, including risks associated with the company's business involving the company's products, their development and distribution, economic and competitive factors and the company's key strategic relationships and other risks detailed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Some important risks specific to the pending acquisition of NextLight Renewable Power LLC ("NextLight") include the satisfaction of closing conditions for the acquisition and the possibility that the transaction may not be completed, and potential difficulties associated with integrating the acquired project businesses into First Solar's existing operations. First Solar assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release or with respect to the announcements described herein.
First Solar has filed a Current Report on Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission, dated April 28, 2010, which contains additional information regarding the pending acquisition of NextLight. Additional information about the pending acquisition of NextLight is also posted on the company's home page at http://www.firstsolar.com.
SOURCE: First Solar, Inc.