February 23 (Renewables Now) - First Solar Inc (NASDAQ:FSLR), the US thin-film solar module maker whose products are exempt from the Trump Administration’s recently imposed tariffs, on Thursday revised upwards its 2018 guidance for revenue, earnings and net cash.
The company explained its decision to raise its projections with revised systems project sale timing, increased Series 4 production, the anticipated sale of its interest in joint venture yieldco 8Point3 Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ:CAFD), and other developments.
The table below shows First Solar’s previous and new forecast for 2018.
|2018 GAAP Guidance
unless otherwise noted)
|Net sales||2.3bn - 2.5bn||2.45bn - 2.65bn|
|Gross Margin (%)||22 - 23||21.5 - 22.5|
|Operating expenses||400m - 410m||Unchanged|
|Operating income||110m - 170m||130m - 180m|
|Earnings per share (EPS)||1.25 - 1.75||1.50 - 1.90|
|Net cash balance||1.6bn - 1.8bn||2.1bn - 2.3bn|
|Operating cash flow||100m - 200m||Unchanged|
|Capital expenditures||650m - 750m||700m - 800m|
|Shipments (GW)||2.7 - 2.8||2.9 - 3.0|
For 2017, the company posted a net loss of USD 165.6 million (EUR 134.6m), a reduction from a loss of USD 416.1 million in 2016. The GAAP loss per share was USD 1.59, while the non-GAAP result was a profit of USD 2.59 a share, which is at the upper end of the company’s updated full-year forecast presented in late October.
The following table shows First Solar’s financial performance for 2017 and the fourth quarter of the year.
|Figures in USD||Q4 2017||Q4 2016||2017||2016|
|Total operating expenses||97.1m||829m||371.1m||1.21bn|
|Operating profit (loss)||(35m)||(821m)||177.8m||(568.1m)|
|Net profit (loss)||(432.5m)||(750.8m)||(165.6m)||(416.1m)|
|Earnings (loss) per diluted share||(4.14)||(7.22)||(1.59)||(4.05)|
|Non-GAAP earnings (loss) per diluted share||(0.25)||N/A||2.59||N/A|
In 2017, First Solar registered net bookings of 7.7 GW in direct current (DC), which is a record for the company, it said. CEO Mark Widmar called this a tremendous commercial success.
So far this year, First Solar has booked 1.3 GW DC.
"We enter 2018 with an unwavering focus on profitably, scaling our modules business, executing on our systems project portfolio, and delivering on our financial commitments," Widmar added.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.813)