2017-12-12 | Editor : et_editor 2800 pageviews

First Solar Records a 90% Increase in Stock Value Since the Start of 2017; Next-Year Guidance Indicates the Company Will Be in a Strong Position

First Solar Inc., a major U.S. photovoltaic (PV) solutions provider, released its 2018 financial guidance at an analyst day event on December 5. For next year, the company forecasts net sales of US$2.3-2.5 billion (with median at US$2.4 billion). Gross margin is projected to reach around 22-23%, and operating income is expected to come to US$110-170 million. EPS during 2018 is expected to be maintained in the US$1.25-1.75 range (with median at US$1.5). The 2018 guidance also states that the company is projected to incur a total CAPEX of US$650-750 million and will ship 2.7-2.8GW of PV products. First Solar is widely recognized for introducing PV modules featuring cells based on the cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film technology.

Compared with the company’s own guidance report, the initial forecast consensus of the 10 major analysts at Yahoo! Finance was that First Solar will achieve a total revenue of US$2.38 billion for 2018 and its EPS will come to US$1.25.

First Solar’s results for 3Q17 (ending on September 30) show net sales rose by 59.6% YoY to around US$1.09 billion, operating income soared by 182% YoY to almost US$207 million, and net income went up by 36.7% YoY to US$205.75 million. Based on non-GAAP measure, the diluted EPS of First Solar reached US$1.95, which is way above the US$0.64 figure in 2Q17.

When First Solar released its 3Q17 results on October 26, the company also boosted its 2017 financial projection. According to the non-GAAP metrics, the company’s estimated operating income for this year was revised to US$210-230 million (with median at US$220 million). This is up from the prior estimate of US$170-220 million (with median at US$195 million). The estimation of the year’s diluted EPS was also corrected upward from US$2-2.5 (with median at US$2.25) to US$2.4-2.6 (with median at US$2.25). On the same day, First Solar also updated its revenue projection for 2017, putting the annual total in the range of US$3-3.1 billion.

(Photo credit: First Solar Inc.)
 

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