First Solar Inc on Wednesday said a 30 percent slide in panel prices has forced it to walk away from some money-losing supply contracts and it is working to accelerate the introduction of a cheaper, more competitive module.
The largest U.S. solar equipment maker said the price slide, driven by a fall-off in demand in China and resulting global oversupply of panels, presents significant challenges to the upcoming year. The company said there were signs that prices had stabilized this quarter.
Despite the difficult market conditions, First Solar beat analysts' profit expectations for the sixth straight quarter and raised its full-year gross margin forecast for the fourth time.
The company's shares initially rose 5 percent in after-hours trade following the report, but later were little changed from their market close of $40.58 after executives discussed the challenging market in a conference call.
The company reported year-to-date bookings of 1.6 gigawatts, up 14 percent from 1.4 GW three months earlier. Customers have delayed signing contracts in hope of further price declines and the company has also passed on some deals because they did not make economic sense, First Solar said.
"We won't chase pricing to the bottom," Chief Financial Officer Alex Bradley said on the conference call....MORE
Here's the earnings call transcript via Seeking Alpha
First Solar, Inc. Announces Third Quarter 2016 Financial Results (Beat; Miss; Neutral) FSLR
UPDATED--Ahead of First Solar's Q3 Earning's Report (FSLR)