First Solar trims 2022 EPS guidance after costs-dented Q2

First Solar's Series 6 PV modules. Image by: First Solar.

July 29 (Renewables Now) - US thin-film photovoltaics (PV) maker First Solar Inc (NASDAQ:FSLR) on Thursday posted a 32.3% year-on-year drop in second-quarter net profit, burdened by rising costs and lower revenues, and cut its full-year earnings forecast.

In view of the second-quarter results, an impairment associated with a legacy systems business asset in Chile and the devaluation of the Japanese yen, First Solar lowered its operating profit forecast for 2022 significantly and put the lower end of its earnings per share (EPS) guidance range in the red. Net sales, meanwhile, are anticipated to be higher than initially projected.

The company’s revised forecast for 2022 is given in the table.

Amounts in USD OLD NEW
Net sales 2.4bn-2.6bn 2.55bn-2.8bn
Gross profit 155m-215m 115m-165m
Operating expenses 365m-380m 350m-365m
Operating income 55m-150m 5m-70m
Earnings (loss) per diluted share 0.00-0.60 (0.25)-0.25
Net Cash Balance 1.1bn-1.35bn 1.3bn-1.5bn
Capital expenditures 850m-1.1bn Unchanged
Shipments 8.9 GW-9.4 GW Unchanged

First Solar closed the second quarter with a net profit of USD 55.8 million (EUR 54.5m), which contracted in annual terms but reversed the company’s USD-43.3-million net loss from the previous quarter.

Regardless of higher operating expenses, the solar manufacturer’s operating profit improved to USD 144.8 million from a loss of USD 58 million in the preceding quarter thanks to growing module sales and a gain from the sale of the firm’s project development platform in Japan.

Net sales amounted to USD 621 million, a sequential rise of USD 254 million, mainly thanks to the increased module sales.

More details are available in the table below.

Figures in USD Q2 2022 Q2 2021 H1 2022 H1 2021
Net sales 621m 629.2m 988m 1.43bn
Cost of sales 644.2m 455.1m 999.7m 1.07bn
Gross profit (loss) (23.2m) 174.1m (11.7m) 358.9m
Total operating expenses 77.4m 62m 148.5m 145.3m
Operating income (loss) 144.8m 110.4m 87m 362.7m
Net profit (loss) 55.8m 82.4m 12.6m 292.1m
Diluted EPS 0.52 0.77 0.12 2.73

“We are pleased with our second quarter results,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. “We now have a record backlog of over 44 GW, extending the horizon for future expected deliveries to 2026.”

First Solar bagged 10.4 GW DC of new orders since its previous earnings call, which, in turn, lifted its year-to-date bookings to 27.1 GW DC.

At the end of June, the US firm had cash, restricted cash, and marketable securities totalling USD 1.9 billion, up from USD 1.6 billion at end-March, mainly due to the Japanese divestment.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.977)

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