First Solar ends Q3 in the red, makes guidance revisions
Manufacturing First Solar panels in Kulim, Malaysia. Photo: First Solar Inc
US thin-film photovoltaics (PV) maker First Solar Inc (NASDAQ:FSLR) has turned to a net loss of USD 49.2 million (EUR 49m) in the third quarter of 2022 from a USD-45.2-million profit a year back, primarily due to unforeseen logistics costs.
The company announced on Thursday that its net sales for the three-month period through September 2022 rose by 8% on the year to USD 628.9 million but that was offset by an unforeseen demurrage charge of about USD 30 million related to transoceanic shipping, and higher selling, general and administrative (SG&A) and research and development (R&D) expenses.
Chief financial officer Alex Bradley explained at the earnings conference call that a dramatic improvement in transoceanic transit times resulted in the delivery of products to ports ahead of the contractually agreed period, which, in turn, led to excess storage fees – the aforementioned demurrage charge.
As a result, the company reported an operating loss of USD 68.4 million for the third quarter of this year against a profit of USD 50.9 million a year back, and consequently a negative bottom line. On a per-share basis, the quarterly net loss was USD 0.46 versus earnings of USD 0.42 in the same period of 2021.
Moreover, First Solar made revisions to its previously announced full-year guidance, in some cases narrowing the projected ranges but in others outright reducing its expectations. Details are available in the table below.
In July-September 2022, the company produced 2.4 GW and shipped 2.8 GW in direct current (DC). As of October 27, 2022, its year-to-date net bookings amounted to a record 43.7 GW and the current contracted backlog reached 58.1 GW. CEO Mark Widmar pointed out that deliveries for these bookings are extending into 2027.