February 24, 2015

First Solar, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Financial Results

  • Net sales of $1.0 billion for the fourth quarter and $3.4 billion for 2014
  • GAAP earnings per fully diluted share of $1.89 for the fourth quarter and $3.91 for 2014
  • Cash and marketable securities of $2.0 billion, net cash of $1.8 billion
  • 2014 full year bookings of 2.5GWdc; 2015 year-to-date bookings of 311MWdc

TEMPE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2014. Net sales were $1,008 million in the quarter, an increase of $119 million from the third quarter of 2014. The sequential increase in net sales resulted from the sale of the Solar Gen 2 project, initial revenue recognition on the Silver State South project and other projects under construction. Revenue recognition from the Desert Sunlight and Topaz projects were lower as the projects reached completion.

The Company reported a fourth quarter GAAP earnings per fully diluted share of $1.89, compared to earnings of $0.87 in the prior quarter. The increase in net income compared to the prior quarter was due to higher profit from the sale of the Solar Gen 2 project and project cost improvements.

Cash and marketable securities at the end of the fourth quarter were approximately $2.0 billion, an increase of approximately $876 million compared to the prior quarter. Cash flows from operations were $928 million in the fourth quarter. The increase in cash and marketable securities during the quarter was due to the sale of the Solar Gen 2 project and the collection of retention payments on the Topaz and Desert Sunlight projects.

"We closed 2014 with strong execution across all fronts," said Jim Hughes, CEO of First Solar. "We have exceeded the earnings per share, operating cash flow and bookings targets that we set at our 2014 Analyst Day. In addition we have announced another new record cell efficiency. With our strong bookings we are well positioned as we enter 2015 and remain focused on executing to our strategy."

Additionally, the Company announced yesterday that it is in advanced negotiations to form a joint YieldCo vehicle with SunPower Corp. into which each company expects to contribute a portfolio of selected solar generation assets from their existing portfolio of assets. Additional details about the joint venture will be provided when they become available.

The Company also provided guidance for the first quarter of 2015 as follows:

  • Net Sales of $550 to $650 million
  • Loss of ($0.25) to ($0.35) per fully diluted share
  • Cash used in operating activities of ($400) to ($500) million

Financial guidance for revenue, earnings, and operating cash flow for the first quarter is lower relative to results in prior periods primarily due to the completion of the Desert Sunlight and Topaz projects and the retention of projects on balance sheet in relation to the announced plan to pursue a joint YieldCo vehicle with SunPower. This is also expected to weigh on financial results in future quarters over the near-term. However, the Company believes this strategy will generate significant value for shareholders over the long-term.

First Solar has scheduled a conference call for today, February 24, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. ET to discuss this announcement. A live webcast of this conference call is available at http://investor.firstsolar.com/events.cfm.

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, March 2, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. ET 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 7310252. A replay of the webcast will be available on the Investors section of the Company's website approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call and remain available for approximately 90 calendar days.

About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company's integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar's renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com.

For First Solar Investors

This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements include statements, among other things, concerning: our business strategy, including anticipated trends and developments in and management plans for our business and the markets in which we operate; future financial results, operating results, revenues, gross margin, operating expenses, products, projected costs, warranties, solar module efficiency and balance of systems (BoS) cost reduction roadmaps, restructuring, product reliability and capital expenditures; our ability to continue to reduce the cost per watt of our solar modules; our ability to reduce the costs to construct photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems; research and development programs and our ability to improve the conversion efficiency of our solar modules; sales and marketing initiatives; and competition. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as "estimate," "expect," "anticipate," "project," "plan," "intend," "believe," "forecast," "foresee," "likely," "may," "should," "goal," "target," "might," "will," "could," "predict," "continue" and the negative or plural of these words and other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and our projections about future events. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements for any reason. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the matters discussed in Item 1A: "Risk Factors," of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other reports filed with the SEC.

FIRST SOLAR, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands, except share data)
(Unaudited)

         

 

December 31,
2014

 

December 31,
2013

ASSETS
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents $ 1,482,054 $ 1,325,072
Marketable securities 509,032 439,102
Accounts receivable trade, net 135,434 136,383
Accounts receivable, unbilled and retainage 76,971 521,323
Inventories 505,088 388,951
Balance of systems parts 125,083 133,731
Deferred project costs 29,354 556,957
Deferred tax assets, net 91,565 63,899
Assets held for sale 20,728 132,626
Notes receivable, affiliate 12,487
Prepaid expenses and other current assets 202,670   94,720  
Total current assets 3,190,466   3,792,764  
Property, plant and equipment, net 1,402,304 1,385,084
PV solar power systems, net 46,393
Project assets and deferred project costs 810,348 720,916
Deferred tax assets, net 222,326 296,603
Restricted cash and investments 407,053 279,441
Investments in unconsolidated affiliates and joint ventures 255,029 17,321
Goodwill 84,985 84,985
Other intangibles, net 119,236 117,416
Inventories 115,617 129,664
Note receivable, affiliate 9,127
Other assets 61,555   59,308  
Total assets $ 6,724,439   $ 6,883,502  
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable $ 214,656 $ 261,333
Income taxes payable 1,727 6,707
Accrued expenses 388,156 320,077
Current portion of long-term debt 51,918 60,543
Billings in excess of costs and estimated earnings 195,346 117,766
Payments and billings for deferred project costs 60,591 642,214
Other current liabilities 88,702   179,421  
Total current liabilities 1,001,096   1,588,061  
Accrued solar module collection and recycling liability 246,307 225,163
Long-term debt 165,003 162,780
Other liabilities 284,546   404,381  
Total liabilities 1,696,952   2,380,385  
Commitments and Contingencies
Stockholders' equity:

Common stock, $0.001 par value per share; 500,000,000 shares authorized; 100,288,942 and 99,506,941
shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2014 and 2013, respectively

100 100
Additional paid-in capital 2,697,558 2,646,022
Accumulated earnings 2,279,689 1,882,771
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) 50,140   (25,776 )
Total stockholders' equity 5,027,487   4,503,117  
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $ 6,724,439   $ 6,883,502  
 
 

FIRST SOLAR, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)

       

Three Months Ended
December 31,

Years Ended
December 31,

2014   2013 2014   2013
Net sales $ 1,007,993 $ 768,437 $ 3,391,814 $ 3,308,989
Cost of sales 699,611   579,141   2,564,709   2,446,235  
Gross profit 308,382 189,296 827,105 862,754
Operating expenses:
Research and development 34,944 38,421 143,969 134,300
Selling, general and administrative 70,968 65,661 253,827 270,261
Production start-up 3,249 5,146 2,768
Restructuring and asset impairments   24,892     86,896  
Total operating expenses 109,161   128,974   402,942   494,225  
Operating income 199,221 60,322 424,163 368,529
Foreign currency loss, net (2,628 ) (104 ) (3,017 ) (259 )
Interest income, net 4,326 4,219 16,048 14,868
Other income (expense), net 5,213   (1,945 ) (5,203 ) (4,758 )
Income before taxes and equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates 206,132 62,492 431,991 378,380
Income tax (expense) benefit (10,545 ) 2,982 (30,124 ) (25,179 )
Equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates, net of tax (3,628 ) (214 ) (4,949 ) (163 )
Net income $ 191,959   $ 65,260   $ 396,918   $ 353,038  
Net income per share:
Basic $ 1.91   $ 0.66   $ 3.97   $ 3.77  
Diluted $ 1.89   $ 0.64   $ 3.91   $ 3.70  
Weighted-average number of shares used in per share calculations:
Basic 100,246   99,471   100,048   93,697  
Diluted 101,509   101,260   101,643   95,468  

First Solar Investors
David Brady
+1 602-414-9315
dbrady@firstsolar.com
or
Steve Haymore
+1 602-414-9315
stephen.haymore@firstsolar.com
or
First Solar Media
Steve Krum
+1 602-427-3359
steve.krum@firstsolar.com

Source: First Solar, Inc.

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