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First Solar, Inc. Announces Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results

TEMPE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

First Solar, Inc. (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.


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