Market Overview

First Solar, Inc. Announces Third Quarter 2012 Financial Results


First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced financial results for the third quarter of 2012. Net sales were $839 million in the quarter, a decrease of $118 million from the second quarter of 2012 and $167 million from the third quarter of 2011. The decrease in net sales from the second quarter of 2012 was primarily due to project-specific decreases including Silver State North, which was completed in the second quarter, and reduced construction activity at Agua Caliente, consistent with the Company's planned construction schedule. The decrease was partially offset by initial revenue recognition for the 550-megawattac Topaz Solar Farms project, which began construction in late 2011.

The Company reported third quarter net income of $1.00 per fully diluted share, compared to net income of $1.27 per fully diluted share in the second quarter of 2012 and net income of $2.25 per fully diluted share in the third quarter of 2011. The third quarter of 2012 was impacted by pre-tax charges of $24.2 million (reducing EPS by $0.27), relating to previously announced restructuring actions.

Cash and Marketable Securities at the end of the third quarter were $717 million, down slightly from $744 million at the end of the second quarter of 2012.

The Company also updated its 2012 guidance as follows:

  • Net sales of $3.5 to $3.8 billion, compared to prior guidance of $3.6 to $3.9 billion. The reduction is due to weather-related disruptions in our supply chain and at certain project sites which may push the expected closing of the project sales from Q4 2012 into Q1 2013.
  • Non-GAAP earnings per fully diluted share of $4.40 to $4.70, compared to prior guidance of $4.20 to $4.70, in each case excluding restructuring and impairment charges and certain costs in excess of normal warranty expense related to the previously announced manufacturing excursion expected, which are expected to reduce 2012 earnings per fully diluted share by approximately $6.00. On a GAAP basis, earnings per fully diluted share are expected to be in the range of $(1.60) to $(1.30).
  • Operating Cash Flows of $650 to $850 million, compared to our previous guidance of $850 to $950 million, primarily due to the aforementioned weather-related disruptions for certain projects.

“Despite continued uncertainties and over-supply conditions in the market, First Solar delivered another strong quarterly performance,” said Jim Hughes, CEO. “Our quarterly performance coupled with our recent project wins in sustainable markets demonstrates we are making meaningful progress in achieving our strategic plan for long-term growth and value creation.”

For a reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to measures presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S. (“GAAP”), see the table below.

First Solar has scheduled a conference call today, Nov. 1, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. EDT to discuss this announcement. Investors may access a live webcast of this conference call by visiting

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 Wed., Nov. 7, 2012 at midnight EST and can be accessed by dialing 888-203-1112 if you are calling from within the United States, or +1-719-457-0820 if you are calling from outside the United States, and entering the replay pass code 606422. A replay of the webcast will be available on the Investors section of the company's web site 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 thin-film modules. 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 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. First Solar assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release or with respect to the announcements described herein.




(In thousands, except share data)




September 30,


December 31,

Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents $ 614,699 $ 605,619
Marketable securities 102,295 66,146
Accounts receivable trade, net 467,640 310,568
Accounts receivable, unbilled 398,945 533,399
Inventories 537,567 475,867
Balance of systems parts 125,012 53,784
Deferred project costs 143,392 197,702
Deferred tax assets, net 37,361 41,144
Assets held for sale 49,521
Note receivable, affiliate 17,408
Prepaid expenses and other current assets   216,196 329,032  
Total current assets   2,710,036 2,613,261  
Property, plant and equipment, net 1,549,689 1,815,958
Project assets 250,812 374,881
Deferred project costs 374,941 122,688
Deferred tax assets, net 328,263 340,274
Marketable securities 116,192
Restricted cash and investments 285,573 200,550
Goodwill 65,444 65,444
Inventories 136,896 60,751
Other assets 280,075   67,615  
Total assets $ 5,981,729   $ 5,777,614  
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable $ 235,744 $ 176,448
Income tax payable 6,982 9,541
Accrued expenses 575,156 406,659
Current portion of long-term debt 61,398 44,505
Deferred revenue 534 41,925
Other current liabilities 260,013   294,646  
Total current liabilities 1,139,827 973,724
Accrued solar module collection and recycling liability 213,407 167,378
Long-term debt 468,294 619,143
Other liabilities 702,047   373,506  
Total liabilities 2,523,575   2,133,751  
Commitments and contingencies
Stockholders' equity:
Common stock, $0.001 par value per share; 500,000,000 shares authorized; 86,961,313 and 86,467,873 shares issued and outstanding at June 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, respectively 87 86
Additional paid-in capital 2,084,257 2,022,743
Accumulated earnings 1,375,555 1,626,071
Accumulated other comprehensive loss (1,745 ) (5,037 )
Total stockholders' equity 3,458,154   3,643,863  
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $ 5,981,729   $ 5,777,614  



(In thousands, except per share amounts)



Three Months Ended

  Nine Months Ended


September 30,


September 30,


September 30,


September 30,


Net sales $ 839,147 $ 1,005,788 $ 2,293,534 $ 2,105,855
Cost of sales 600,431   626,624   1,734,332   1,272,228
Gross profit 238,716 379,164 559,202 833,627
Operating expenses:
Research and development 32,372 38,164 100,821 102,617
Selling, general and administrative 73,507 112,743 217,511 286,615
Production start-up 1,595 5,514 6,186 27,739
Restructuring 24,197     444,262  
Total operating expenses 131,671   156,421   768,780   416,971
Operating income 107,045 222,743 (209,578 ) 416,656
Foreign currency gain (loss) 3 (1,857 ) 34 752
Interest income 3,405 3,225 9,695 9,665
Interest expense, net (2,902 ) (11,194 )
Other income (expense), net 3,210   (1,346 ) 665   656
Income before income taxes 110,761 222,765 (210,378 ) 427,729
Income tax expense 22,844   26,251   40,138   54,109
Net income $ 87,917   $ 196,514   $ (250,516 ) $ 373,620
Net income per share:
Basic $ 1.01   $ 2.28   $ (2.89 ) $ 4.35
Diluted $ 1.00   $ 2.25   $ (2.89 ) $ 4.29
Weighted-average number of shares used in per share calculations:
Basic 86,992   86,338   86,785   85,946
Diluted 87,765   87,151   86,785   87,114

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

The non-GAAP financial measures included in the table below are non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP net income per share, which adjust for the following items: Restructuring. We believe the presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures, when taken together with the corresponding GAAP financial measures, provides meaningful supplemental information regarding the Company's operating performance. Our management uses these non-GAAP financial measures in assessing the Company's performance to prior periods and investors benefit from an understanding of these non-GAAP financial measures. The use of non-GAAP financial measures has limitations and you should not consider these performance measures in isolation from or as an alternative to measures presented in accordance with GAAP such as net income and net income per share.

Restructuring: Included in our GAAP presentation of operating expenses, restructuring costs represent asset impairment and related costs and severance and termination related costs primarily due to a series of restructuring initiatives intended to align the organization with our long-term strategic plan including expected sustainable market opportunities and to reduce costs. We exclude restructuring from our non-GAAP measures because the asset impairment portion of the charges does not reflect our cash position or our cash flows from operating activities, and the restructuring charges overall do not reflect future operating expenses, are not indicative of our core operating performance, and are not meaningful in comparing to our past operating performance.

Three Months Ended September 30, 2012 (In thousands except per share data)


  Restructuring   Non-GAAP
Net income before income taxes $ 110,761 $ 24,197 $ 134,958
Income tax expense 22,844   582  



$ 23,426
Net income $ 87,917   $ 23,615   $ 111,532
Net income per fully diluted share $ 1.00   $ 0.27   $ 1.27
Weighted-average shares outstanding 87,765   87,765   87,765

(1) Amount adjusts the provision for income taxes to reflect the effect of the non-GAAP adjustments on non-GAAP net income.

First Solar, Inc.
David Brady
+1 (602) 414-9315
Ted Meyer
+1 (602) 427-3318

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