Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"First Solar Posts Surprise Profit Growth On Strong Demand" (FSLR)

The Dow Jones headline seemed to say it best.
The stock is trading up $8.37 at $136.50.
From The Wall Street Journal:

First Solar Inc. (FSLR) posted a surprise jump in its first-quarter profit, mainly due to higher sales of the manufacturer's low-cost photovoltaic modules and increased production, which offset lower margins.

The company lifted its full-year earnings target but lowered its revenue expectation, citing a reallocation of module capacity from the company's systems business to meet stronger demand in Europe.

It now sees earnings of $6.80 to $7.30 on revenue of $2.6 billion to $2.7 billion, compared with the company's March view of a profit of $6.05 to $6.85 on sales of $2.7 billion to $2.9 billion.

Shares rose 4.4% to $133.95 in after-hours trading.

Solar companies are expected to report mostly stronger first-quarter results, after many fell into the red a year ago when sales plummeted on tighter credit conditions and an oversupply of its products, which lowered prices.

First Solar, however, has posted surging revenue during the economic downturn as demand remains high for its products, which are less efficient than silicon-based panels but also less expensive. Lazard Capital Markets said First Solar was "ideally positioned to leverage and potentially facilitate the long-term growth of the solar industry."

On Wednesday, First Solar posted a profit of $172.3 million, or $2 a share, up from $164.6 million, or $1.99 a share, a year earlier. Year-earlier results included a 14-cent benefit related to the company's Malaysian tax holiday. Revenue climbed 36% to $568 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters projected a profit of $1.63 on revenue of $541 million.

Gross margin slid to 49.7% from 56.3%.>>>MORE