Thursday, February 21, 2019

Earnings: First Solar Don't Got the Beat (FSLR)

They got the sadz.
In very early after-hours action the stock is down $2.20 (-4.23%) at $49.75.
From the company: 

First Solar, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter & Full Year 2018 Financial Results
February 21, 2019
  • Net sales of $2.2 billion for 2018 and $691 million for the fourth quarter
  • Net income per share of $1.36 for 2018 and $0.49 for the fourth quarter
  • Cash and marketable securities of $2.5 billion, net cash of $2.1 billion
  • 5.6GWDC of 2018 net bookings; 1.3GWDC of 2019 YTD net bookings
  • Series 6 production commenced at fourth factory location
  • Maintain 2019 EPS guidance of $2.25 to $2.75
TEMPE, Ariz., Feb. 21, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2018. Net sales for the fourth quarter were $691 million, an increase of $15 million from the prior quarter, primarily due to the sale of certain projects in Japan.

The Company reported fourth quarter earnings per share (“EPS”) of $0.49, compared to $0.54 in the third quarter.

Cash and marketable securities at the end of the fourth quarter decreased to $2.5 billion from $2.7 billion at the end of the prior quarter. The decrease primarily resulted from capital investments in Series 6 manufacturing capacity, factory ramp activities, and the timing of cash receipts from certain systems project sales.

“We had a number of notable accomplishments in 2018, including strong net bookings of 5.6GWDC and the start of Series 6 production at three factories,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. “Our Series 6 progress in 2019 continues to be encouraging with the start of production at a fourth factory and ongoing improvements in throughput and efficiency at our existing facilities. We continue to see good demand for Series 6, and our pipeline of contracted shipments positions us well for the year.”
2019 guidance was updated to reflect lower expected operating expenses, primarily associated with a decrease in expected production start-up. In addition, gross margin guidance was lowered by 50 basis points due to expected increases in ramp costs. These adjustments offset, and the associated EPS and net cash balance guidance ranges are unchanged. The complete 2019 guidance is as follows:

2019 Guidance Prior Current
Net Sales $3.25B to $3.45B Unchanged
Gross Margin % (1) 20% to 21% 19.5% to 20.5%
Operating Expenses (2) $390M to $410M $375M to $395M
Operating Income $260M to $310M Unchanged
Earnings per Share $2.25 to $2.75 Unchanged
Net Cash Balance (3) $1.6B to $1.8B Unchanged
Capital Expenditures $650M to $750M Unchanged
Shipments 5.4GW to 5.6GW Unchanged
(1) Includes $35 to $45 million of ramp costs ($20 to $30 million previously)
(2) Includes $75 to $85 million of production start-up expense ($90 to $100 million previously)
(3) Defined as cash and marketable securities less expected debt at the end of 2019
First Solar has scheduled a conference call for today, February 21, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. ET to discuss this announcement. A live webcast of this conference call and accompanying materials are available at
The guidance figures presented above are subject to a variety of assumptions and estimates. Investors are encouraged to listen to the conference call and to review the accompanying materials which contain more information about First Solar’s 2019 Guidance.
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 through Thursday, February 28, 2019 and can be accessed by dialing 800-585-8367 if you are calling from within the United States or 416-621-4642 if you are calling from outside the United States and entering the replay pass code 7349009. 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.
Tuesday's post "'First Solar to Report Q4 Earnings: What's in Store?' (FSLR)" is also worth a look if one is so inclined.

We'll be back after the call. In the meantime, our theme song from the 2007-2008 run-up in the stock ($20 to $317) referenced in the headline: