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Solar PV Corporate News Release
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First Solar, Inc. Announces Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results
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First Solar, Inc. Announces Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results

October 26, 2017 at 4:02 PM EDT

Net sales of $1.1 billion

GAAP EPS of $1.95

Cash and marketable securities of $2.7 billion, net cash of $2.4 billion

4.5GWdc quarterly net bookings, 6.7GWdc YTD net bookings

Raises EPS guidance for 2017

TEMPE, Ariz.--Oct. 26, 2017-- First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced financial results for the third quarter of 2017. Net sales for the third quarter were $1.1 billion, an increase of $464 million from the prior quarter primarily due to the sale of the California Flats and Cuyama projects, and higher third-party module sales.

The Company reported third quarter earnings per share (“EPS”) of $1.95, compared to EPS of $0.50 in the prior quarter. The third quarter was impacted by pre-tax restructuring and asset impairment charges of less than $1 million, compared to $18 million in the second quarter. Net income increased versus the prior quarter primarily as a result of higher net sales, improved gross margin and lower restructuring charges. Third quarter non-GAAP EPS, adjusted for restructuring and asset impairment charges, was $1.95, compared to $0.64 in the second quarter.

Cash and marketable securities at the end of the third quarter increased to $2.7 billion from $2.2 billion in the prior quarter. The increase primarily resulted from cash received from projects sold in the third quarter. Cash flows from operations were $581 million in the third quarter.

“Third quarter results were highlighted by record bookings and strong earnings resulting from the sale of our California Flats project,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. “Our 4.5GWdc of bookings demonstrates both the robust market demand for our Series 4 and Series 6 module technology, and the acceleration of procurement timing by certain customers. Closing the sale of our California Flats project was also an important milestone toward achieving our financial guidance for the year. While we are pleased with our recent results, we continue to be intently focused on the success of our Series 6 transition.”

Based on results for the third quarter, the Company updated 2017 guidance as follows:

2017 Guidance

 

 

Prior GAAP

 

 

Current GAAP

 

 

Prior Non-GAAP

 

 

Current Non-GAAP

Net Sales

 

 

$3.0B to $3.1B

 

 

Unchanged

 

 

 

 

Gross Margin %

17.0% to 18.0%

~18.0%

Operating Expenses

$370M to $395M

$370M to $385M

$330M to $340M

Unchanged

Operating Income

$115M to $180M

$165M to $190M

$170M to $220M

$210M to $230M

Earnings per Share

$1.55 to $2.20

$2.05 to $2.30

$2.00 to $2.50

$2.40 to $2.60

Net Cash Balance1

$2.1B to $2.3B

Unchanged

Operating Cash Flow

$850M to $950M

Unchanged

Capital Expenditures

$400M to $500M

Unchanged

Shipments

 

 

2.6GW to 2.7GW

 

 

Unchanged

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.  Defined as cash and marketable securities less expected debt at the end of 2017.

 

 

For a reconciliation of the non-GAAP measures presented above to measures presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”), see the tables below.

First Solar has scheduled a conference call for today, October 26, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. ET to discuss this announcement. A live webcast of this conference call will be available at http://investor.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 Nov 2, 2017 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 6807520. 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 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.

FIRST SOLAR, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands, except share data)
(Unaudited)

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 30,
2017

December 31,
2016

ASSETS

Current assets:

Cash and cash equivalents

$

2,019,073

$

1,347,155

Marketable securities

699,544

607,991

Accounts receivable trade, net

344,645

266,687

Accounts receivable, unbilled and retainage

455,118

206,739

Inventories

217,555

363,219

Balance of systems parts

20,892

62,776

Project assets

67,263

700,800

Note receivable, affiliate

15,000

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

142,404

 

217,462

 

Total current assets

3,966,494

3,787,829

Property, plant and equipment, net

940,119

629,142

PV solar power systems, net

454,483

448,601

Project assets

406,396

762,148

Deferred tax assets, net

276,423

255,152

Restricted cash and investments

408,873

371,307

Investments in unconsolidated affiliates and joint ventures

227,661

234,610

Goodwill

14,462

14,462

Other intangibles, net

81,765

87,970

Inventories

110,412

100,512

Notes receivable, affiliates

69,432

54,737

Other assets

98,173

 

77,898

 

Total assets

$

7,054,693

 

$

6,824,368

 

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

Current liabilities:

Accounts payable

$

130,704

$

148,730

Income taxes payable

4,396

12,562

Accrued expenses

317,325

262,977

Current portion of long-term debt

13,451

27,966

Deferred revenue

69,095

308,704

Other current liabilities

44,046

 

146,942

 

Total current liabilities

579,017

907,881

Accrued solar module collection and recycling liability

163,707

166,277

Long-term debt

330,209

160,422

Other liabilities

469,364

 

371,439

 

Total liabilities

1,542,297

 

1,606,019

 

Commitments and contingencies

Stockholders’ equity:

Common stock, $0.001 par value per share; 500,000,000 shares authorized; 104,431,990
and 104,034,731 shares issued and outstanding at September 30, 2017 and
December 31, 2016, respectively

104

104

Additional paid-in capital

2,788,467

2,765,310

Accumulated earnings

2,729,681

2,462,842

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

(5,856

)

(9,907

)

Total stockholders’ equity

5,512,396

 

5,218,349

 

Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity

$

7,054,693

 

$

6,824,368

 

 

 

 

FIRST SOLAR, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)

 

 

 

 

Three Months Ended
September 30,

Nine Months Ended
September 30,

2017

 

2016

2017

 

2016

 

Net sales

$

1,087,026

$

681,276

$

2,602,143

$

2,573,768

Cost of sales

795,226

 

510,368

 

2,115,266

 

1,943,198

 

Gross profit

291,800

170,908

486,877

630,570

Operating expenses:

Selling, general and administrative

50,546

60,345

147,702

191,624

Research and development

20,850

32,173

64,990

95,291

Production start-up

12,624

752

22,155

807

Restructuring and asset impairments

791

 

4,314

 

39,108

 

89,846

 

Total operating expenses

84,811

 

97,584

 

273,955

 

377,568

 

Operating income

206,989

73,324

212,922

253,002

Foreign currency loss, net

(3,968

)

(2,296

)

(6,166

)

(8,259

)

Interest income

8,392

5,894

22,364

18,829

Interest expense, net

(4,149

)

(5,563

)

(19,692

)

(17,356

)

Other income, net

2,018

 

6,419

 

25,180

 

48,725

 

Income before taxes and equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates

209,282

77,778

234,608

294,941

Income tax (expense) benefit

(7,580

)

68,205

26,769

32,886

Equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates, net of tax

4,045

 

4,474

 

5,462

 

6,851

 

Net income

$

205,747

 

$

150,457

 

$

266,839

 

$

334,678

 

Net income per share:

Basic

$

1.97

 

$

1.46

 

$

2.56

 

$

3.27

 

Diluted

$

1.95

 

$

1.45

 

$

2.54

 

$

3.25

 

Weighted-average number of shares used in per share calculations:

Basic

104,432

 

103,339

 

104,287

 

102,496

 

Diluted

105,660

 

103,684

 

104,889

 

103,110

 

 

 

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

In the press release above, we provided non-GAAP earnings per share for the three months ended September 30, 2017 and June 30, 2017. We have included these non-GAAP financial measures to adjust for (i) restructuring, asset impairment and related charges primarily associated with the transition from Series 4 to Series 6 production and (ii) the tax effect associated with these items. We believe non-GAAP earnings per share, when taken together with corresponding GAAP financial measures, to be relevant and useful information to our investors because it provides them with additional information in assessing our financial operating results. Our management uses this non-GAAP financial measure in evaluating our operating performance. However, this measure has limitations, including that it excludes the effect of certain changes to our assets and liabilities and certain amounts that we may ultimately have to pay in cash. Accordingly, this non-GAAP financial measure should be considered in addition to, and not as a substitute for, or superior to earnings per share prepared in accordance with GAAP. The following is the reconciliation of earnings per share prepared in accordance with GAAP to non-GAAP earnings per share for each period presented (in millions, except per share amounts):

 

 

Three Months Ended
September 30, 2017

 

Net income

$

205.7

 

Restructuring and asset impairments

0.8

Tax effect*

(0.1

)

Non-GAAP net income

$

206.4

 

 

Weighted-average number of shares used for diluted earnings per share

105.7

 

Diluted GAAP earnings per share

$

1.95

Diluted Non-GAAP earnings per share

$

1.95

 

*  Restructuring treated as a non-discrete item for tax purposes and will be reflected in the effective tax rate over the
duration of 2017.

 

 

 

 

Three Months Ended
June 30, 2017

Net income

$

52.0

 

Restructuring and asset impairments

18.3

Tax effect*

(3.8

)

Non-GAAP net income

$

66.5

 

 

Weighted-average number of shares used for diluted earnings per share

104.6

 

Diluted GAAP earnings per share

$

0.50

Diluted Non-GAAP earnings per share

$

0.64

 

*  Restructuring treated as a non-discrete item for tax purposes and will be reflected in the effective tax rate over the
duration of 2017.

 

 

In the press release above, we provided non-GAAP guidance as of the date of this press release for our operating expenses, operating income and earnings per share for the year ending December 31, 2017. We have included these forward-looking non-GAAP financial measures to adjust our GAAP projections of such financial measures for, as applicable, (i) restructuring, asset impairment and related charges primarily associated with the transition from Series 4 to Series 6 production and (ii) additional restructuring activities expected during the remainder of the year. Other GAAP charges, including those related to certain asset impairments or restructuring programs, that would be excluded from non-GAAP earnings per share are possible for the periods presented, but such amounts are dependent on numerous factors that we currently cannot ascertain with sufficient certainty or are presently unknown. These GAAP charges are also dependent upon future events and valuations that have not yet occurred or been performed. We believe these forward-looking non-GAAP financial measures, when taken together with our corresponding financial guidance based on GAAP, to be relevant and useful information to our investors because they provide them with additional information in assessing our financial operating results. Our management also uses such non-GAAP guidance in evaluating our operating performance. However, such measures have limitations, including that they exclude the effect of certain changes to our assets and liabilities, certain amounts that we may ultimately have to pay in cash and certain tax impacts. Accordingly, these forward-looking non-GAAP financial measures that exclude the aforementioned items should be considered in addition to, and not as substitutes for or superior to, financial guidance based on GAAP. The following are the reconciliations of our current and prior non-GAAP 2017 guidance to our current and prior GAAP 2017 guidance (in millions, except per share amounts):

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP 2017 Guidance to GAAP 2017 Guidance

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAAP Guidance

Restructuring
Charges

Non-GAAP Guidance

Operating Expenses

$370 to $385

$(40) to $(45)

$330 to $340

Operating Income

$165 to $190

$45 to $40

$210 to $230

Earnings per Share

$2.05 to $2.30

$0.35 to $0.30

$2.40 to $2.60

 

1.  $40 to $45 million of restructuring related charges associated with our transition from Series 4 to Series 6 module
manufacturing.

 

 

 

Reconciliation of Prior Non-GAAP 2017 Guidance to Prior GAAP 2017 Guidance

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAAP Guidance

Restructuring
Charges1

Non-GAAP Guidance

Operating Expenses

$370 to $395

$(40) to $(55)

$330 to $340

Operating Income

$115 to $180

$55 to $40

$170 to $220

Earnings per Share

$1.55 to $2.20

$0.45 to $0.30

$2.00 to $2.50

 

1.  $40 to $55 million of restructuring related charges associated with our transition from Series 4 to Series 6 module
manufacturing.

 

http://cts.businesswire.com/ct/CT?id=bwnews&sty=20171026006538r1&sid=acqr7&distro=nx&lang=en

Source: First Solar, Inc.

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

 

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