Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jim Chanos (!) Spanks First Solar (!) FSLR)

Maybe Jim is just crabby about his China short.
Regardless, he is not someone you want trashing your stock. FSLR is trading down $3.23 at $141.50 after trading as low as $137.18.
From Tech Trader Daily:
FSLR Down On Chanos Comments, Exec Resignation
Shares of First Solar (FSLR) are down 4% at $139.15 after short-seller Jim Chanos made negative comments about the company during an interview on CNBC this morning.

Chanos, president of hedge fund Kynikos Associates, called the company “problematic” and noted high levels of insider selling.

Also today, First Solar’s president of operations Bruce Sohn resigned.
Sohn, who oversaw manufacturing, procurement, engineering and construction operations, joined the company in 2007 shortly after its IPO....MORE
Regarding the insider selling, we've chronicled billions of dollars worth highlighting the bails by Chairmen Ahern, former BFF Goldman Sachs and the Wal*ton interests.
More problematic might be an idea mooted by Auriga analyst Mark Bachman yesterday:

First Solar President Sohn May Leave to Join Rival Company, Analyst Says
Bruce Sohn, First Solar Inc. (FSLR)’s president of operations, may pursue work as chief executive of another solar company when he steps down at the end of this month, an analyst said.

The world’s largest maker of thin-film photovoltaic panels said yesterday in a statement that Sohn won’t be replaced after his April 30 departure.

Sohn was a top executive at the Tempe, Arizona-based company, and didn’t get the CEO job when First Solar’s original top executive Michael Ahearn was named chairman in 2009. That role went to an outsider, Rob Gillette.

“Some people believed that Bruce Sohn might have been the heir-apparent” at the time, said Mark Bachman, an analyst with New York-based investment bank Auriga USA LLC. “Everybody aspires to have those three letters after their name, CEO,” and Gillette may have “impeded his path.”

Sohn, 49, joined the company from Intel Corp. (INTC) in 2007, and his expertise was in developing a reliable manufacturing process, Bachman said. Those skills were invaluable at First Solar, and may be equally valued at another solar company....MORE