Market Overview

First Solar Announces Full-Year 2018 Financial Guidance

Share:
  • Net sales of $2.3 to $2.5 billion
  • EPS of $1.25 to $1.75
  • Ending net cash of $1.6 to $1.8 billion

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) today announced full-year 2018
guidance. First Solar's Chief Financial Officer, Alex Bradley, provided
the guidance and outlook during the Company's 2017 Analyst Day event
held today at the Company's Series 6 factory in Perrysburg, Ohio. In
addition to providing the 2018 financial outlook, Company executives
also discussed First Solar's business outlook and technology and
operations roadmaps. The live video webcast of the event and related
materials are available through the First Solar Investor Relations
website at http://investor.firstsolar.com/. A
replay of the webcast will be available approximately two hours after
the conclusion of the webcast and can be accessed by visiting the
investor relations website. The replay will remain available for
approximately 90 calendar days.

Forecasted net sales for 2018 are $2.3 to $2.5 billion, with solar power
systems net sales expected to comprise 75% to 80% of the total net sales
and third-party module sales the remainder. Earnings per share ("EPS")
is forecasted to be between $1.25 and $1.75. The EPS guidance provided
is inclusive of production ramp costs of approximately $60 million and
production start-up expenses of approximately $110 million, associated
with the deployment of Series 6 capacity in 2018. The EPS range also
includes projected restructuring related charges of approximately $10
million. The 2018 ending net cash balance is projected in the range of
$1.6 to $1.8 billion, with the expected decrease from the end of 2017
resulting from higher projected capital expenditures in 2018 to support
the Series 6 production ramp. As a result of ongoing improvements, the
capital expenditure for a brownfield Series 6 factory is now expected to
be approximately $0.25 per watt. The complete 2018 guidance is as
follows:

  2018 GAAP Guidance
Net Sales $2.3B to $2.5B

Gross Margin %1

22% to 23%
Operating Expenses2 $400M to $410M
Operating Income $110M to $170M
Earnings per Share $1.25 to $1.75
Net Cash Balance3 $1.6B to $1.8B
Operating Cash Flow $100M to $200M
Capital Expenditures $650M to $750M
Shipments 2.7GW to 2.8GW
1.     Includes approximately $60M of ramp cost
2. Includes approximately $110M of plant start-up expense
3. Defined as cash and marketable securities less expected debt at the
end of 2018

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: effects on our financial statements and
guidance resulting from certain module manufacturing changes and
associated restructuring activities; 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 (including estimated future module collection and
recycling costs), warranties, solar module technology and cost reduction
roadmaps, restructuring, product reliability, investments in
unconsolidated affiliates and capital expenditures; our ability to
continue to reduce the cost per watt of our solar modules; the impact of
public policies, such as tariffs or other trade remedies imposed on
solar cells and modules; our ability to expand manufacturing capacity
worldwide; our ability to reduce the costs to construct 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," "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. 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, and other filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission.

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