First Solar reveals bullish Q3 figures


With U.S. thin film giant First Solar expecting to realize a $115 million profit next quarter – together with $10 million annual savings – from the sale of its Mesa facility, it is tough to find any chink in the armour of a company reporting impressive third-quarter figures.

The only disappointing aspect of the third-quarter financial update submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday, related to losses made due to currency exchange rates.

And with regulatory bodies on both sides of the Atlantic preparing to investigate alleged manipulations of the currency exchanges, there could even be relief for First Solar further down the road in that respect after the module manufacturer saw a $3,000 Q3 currency gain in 2012 turn into a $705,000 loss.

But those figures are dwarfed by the success stories outlined by a rise in net sales to $1.27 billion from $839 million for the July-to-October period, year-on-year, a figure which saw January-to-October sales rise $200 million to $2.5 billion.

Those impressive sales figures, boosted by the sale of projects like the 550 MW Desert Sunlight farm constructed by First Solar in the U.S. and the 50 MW ABW projects in Canada – as well as rising module sales – saw First Solar's net income more than double for the quarter, from $87 million to $195 million, year-on-year, and rise $37 million to $287 million for the nine-month comparative.

With the company expecting to see the proceeds from its Mesa sale reflected in its fourth quarter figures and yesterday announcing it expects to complete a deal to sell the 250 MW Silver State South Solar project to NextEra Energy Resources early next year, the sun is shining on First Solar although, curiously, the company revised it sales revenues prediction for 2013 down $200 million to $3.4 billion-$3.6 billion.

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