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First Solar, Inc. Announces First Quarter 2019 Financial Results

May 02, 2019
  • Net sales of $532 million
  • Net loss per share of $(0.64)
  • Cash, restricted cash and marketable securities of $2.3 billion, net cash of $1.7 billion
  • YTD net bookings of 2.3GWDC; 1.1GWDC since prior earnings call
  • Raise 2019 net sales and net cash guidance; Maintain 2019 EPS guidance of $2.25 to $2.75

TEMPE, Ariz., May 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019. Net sales for the first quarter were $532 million, a decrease of $159 million from the prior quarter, primarily due to lower systems project revenue in the United States and Japan.

The Company reported a first quarter loss per share of $(0.64), compared to earnings per share of $0.49 in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Cash, restricted cash and marketable securities at the end of the first quarter decreased to $2.3 billion from $2.7 billion at the end of the prior quarter, primarily as a result of ongoing capital investments in Series 6 manufacturing capacity, factory ramp activities and the timing of cash receipts from certain systems project sales.

“During the first quarter of 2019 we continued to realize advancements in Series 6 throughput and efficiency and we are particularly pleased with the start-up and ongoing ramp of our second facility in Vietnam,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. “Series 6 demand remains robust, and we are encouraged by the strong year-to-date bookings which are on track to exceed our targeted annual bookings-to-shipments ratio.”

2019 guidance has been updated as a result of greater expected module and system sales, increased ramp related and EPC costs, and lower projected operating costs. The complete 2019 guidance is as follows:

2019 Guidance Prior Current
Net Sales $3.25B to $3.45B $3.5B to $3.7B
Gross Margin % (1) 19.5% to 20.5% 18% to 19%
Operating Expenses (2) $375M to $395M $370M to $390M
Operating Income $260M to $310M Unchanged
Earnings per Share $2.25 to $2.75 Unchanged
Net Cash Balance (3) $1.6B to $1.8B $1.7B to $1.9B
Capital Expenditures $650M to $750M Unchanged
Shipments 5.4GW to 5.6GW Unchanged
  1. Includes $45 to $55 million of ramp costs ($35 to $45 million previously)
  2. Includes $70 to $80 million of production start-up expense ($75 to $85 million previously)
  3. Defined as cash, restricted cash and marketable securities less expected debt at the end of 2019

First Solar has scheduled a conference call for today, May 2, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. ET to discuss this announcement. A live webcast of this conference call and accompanying materials are available at

The guidance figures presented above are subject to a variety of assumptions and estimates. Investors are encouraged to listen to the conference call and to review the accompanying materials which contain more information about First Solar’s 2019 guidance.

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 through Thursday, May 9, 2019 and can be accessed by dialing 800-585-8367 if you are calling from within the United States or 416-621-4642 if you are calling from outside the United States and entering the replay pass code 5479034. 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 will 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

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. All statements in this release, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning: our financial guidance for 2019; the transition to Series 6 module manufacturing in 2019; net sales, gross margin, operating expenses, operating income, earnings per share, net cash balance, capital expenditures, shipments, products and our business and financial objectives for 2019. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as “estimate,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “seek,” “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 and therefore speak only as of the date of this release. 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, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. 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: structural imbalances in global supply and demand for PV solar modules; the market for renewable energy, including solar energy; our competitive position and other key competitive factors; reduction, elimination, or expiration of government subsidies, policies, and support programs for solar energy projects; the impact of public policies, such as tariffs or other trade remedies imposed on solar cells and modules; our ability to execute on our long-term strategic plans; our ability to execute on our solar module technology and cost reduction roadmaps; our ability to improve the wattage of our solar modules; interest rate fluctuations and both our and our customers’ ability to secure financing; the creditworthiness of our offtake counterparties and the ability of our offtake counterparties to fulfill their contractual obligations to us; the ability of our customers to perform under their contracts with us; our ability to attract new customers and to develop and maintain existing customer and supplier relationships; our ability to successfully develop and complete our systems business projects; our ability to convert existing production facilities to support new product lines, such as Series 6 module manufacturing; general economic and business conditions, including those influenced by U.S., international, and geopolitical events; environmental responsibility, including with respect to cadmium telluride (“CdTe”) and other semiconductor materials; claims under our limited warranty obligations; changes in, or the failure to comply with, government regulations and environmental, health, and safety requirements; effects resulting from pending litigation, including the class action lawsuit against us; future collection and recycling costs for solar modules covered by our module collection and recycling program; our ability to protect our intellectual property; our ability to prevent and/or minimize the impact of cyber-attacks or other breaches of our information systems; our continued investment in research and development; the supply and price of components and raw materials, including CdTe; our ability to attract and retain key executive officers and associates; and the matters discussed under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations” of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as supplemented by our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


First Solar Investors

First Solar Media


(In thousands, except share data)

  March 31,
  December 31,
Current assets:        
Cash and cash equivalents   $ 1,013,402     $ 1,403,562  
Marketable securities   1,103,812     1,143,704  
Accounts receivable trade, net   301,669     128,282  
Accounts receivable, unbilled and retainage   367,140     458,166  
Inventories   459,472     387,912  
Balance of systems parts   59,890     56,906  
Project assets   80,278     37,930  
Prepaid expenses and other current assets   277,163     243,061  
Total current assets   3,662,826     3,859,523  
Property, plant and equipment, net   1,859,293     1,756,211  
PV solar power systems, net   305,628     308,640  
Project assets   492,011     460,499  
Deferred tax assets, net   78,283     77,682  
Restricted cash and investments   388,637     318,390  
Goodwill   14,462     14,462  
Intangible assets, net   71,641     74,162  
Inventories   142,192     130,083  
Notes receivable, affiliate       22,832  
Other assets   241,953     98,878  
Total assets   $ 7,256,926     $ 7,121,362  
Current liabilities:        
Accounts payable   $ 221,738     $ 233,287  
Income taxes payable   7,865     20,885  
Accrued expenses   408,031     441,580  
Current portion of long-term debt   12,361     5,570  
Deferred revenue   166,984     129,755  
Other current liabilities   19,537     14,380  
Total current liabilities   836,516     845,457  
Accrued solar module collection and recycling liability   134,228     134,442  
Long-term debt   558,356     461,221  
Other liabilities   598,665     467,839  
Total liabilities   2,127,765     1,908,959  
Commitments and contingencies        
Stockholders’ equity:        
Common stock, $0.001 par value per share; 500,000,000 shares authorized; 105,352,685
and 104,885,261 shares issued and outstanding at March 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively
  105     105  
Additional paid-in capital   2,814,115     2,825,211  
Accumulated earnings   2,373,954     2,441,553  
Accumulated other comprehensive loss   (59,013 )   (54,466 )
Total stockholders’ equity   5,129,161     5,212,403  
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity   $ 7,256,926     $ 7,121,362  

(In thousands, except per share amounts)
    Three Months Ended
    March 31,
  December 31,
  March 31,
Net sales   $ 531,978     $ 691,241     $ 567,265  
Cost of sales   531,866     592,931     394,467  
Gross profit   112     98,310     172,798  
Operating expenses:            
Selling, general and administrative   45,352     51,338     41,126  
Research and development   21,877     21,388     20,324  
Production start-up   9,522     14,576     37,084  
Total operating expenses   76,751     87,302     98,534  
Operating (loss) income   (76,639 )   11,008     74,264  
Foreign currency gain (loss), net   172     1,908     (2,517 )
Interest income   14,259     14,643     11,824  
Interest expense, net   (10,121 )   (11,476 )   (5,182 )
Other income, net   3,509     32,102     17,934  
(Loss) income before taxes and equity in earnings   (68,820 )   48,185     96,323  
Income tax benefit (expense)   1,394     4,416     (11,625 )
Equity in earnings, net of tax   (173 )   (485 )   (1,747 )
Net (loss) income   $ (67,599 )   $ 52,116     $ 82,951  
Net (loss) income per share:            
Basic   $ (0.64 )   $ 0.50     $ 0.79  
Diluted   $ (0.64 )   $ 0.49     $ 0.78  
Weighted-average number of shares used in per share calculations:            
Basic   105,046     104,845     104,550  
Diluted   105,046     105,819     106,305  



Source: First Solar, Inc.

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