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First Solar, Inc. (FSLR)

  • Oct. 9, 2013, 1:21 PM
    • A day after Internet stocks with big 2013 gains tumbled as part of a general rout in risk assets, solar stocks are largely doing the same (TAN -3.2%).
    • Notable decliners include JA Solar (JASO -6.5%), JinkoSolar (JKS -5.6%), First Solar (FSLR -2%), SunPower (SPWR -2.2%), ReneSola (SOL -3.7%), Yingli (YGE -3.9%), Trina (TSL -2.2%), SunEdison (SUNE -0.4%), and Canadian Solar (CSIQ -4.6%).
    • SolarCity (SCTY -4.7%) is following peers lower on a day when it announced the $158M acquisition of mounting systems supplier Zep Solar. Shares outperformed yesterday following the singing of a California solar bill.
    • Suntech (STP -3.5%) has given up the premarket gains it saw on news two Chinese solar cell makers have made bids for the company.
    • Debt-laden LDK (LDK +4.6%), which has missed out on this year's big solar rally, is bucking the trend.
    | Oct. 9, 2013, 1:21 PM | 7 Comments
  • Sep. 26, 2013, 10:25 AM
    • Solar stocks are adding to yesterday's gains with the help of a market rally. Also possibly helping: the Indian government has set a 10GW 2017 solar capacity target. The move follows the Chinese government's establishment of a 35GW 2015 target.
    • Winners: JKS +5.1%. SPWR +3.6%. YGE +4.8%. TSL +4%. SOL +2.1%. DQ +13.9% (previous).
    • Also: First Solar (FSLR +1.1%) has announced it's buying a 250MW Nevada solar project from project developer K Road Power.  The project is situated to the northeast of Las Vegas, could see construction begin in Q4, and is expected to be finished by the end of 2015.
    | Sep. 26, 2013, 10:25 AM | 2 Comments
  • Sep. 25, 2013, 2:45 PM
    • U.S. solar trade group SEIA has issued a proposal that aims to remove the anti-dumping tariffs imposed last year by the ITC on Chinese solar module imports, and also put an end to China's threats to issue retaliatory tariffs on U.S. polysilicon imports.
    • The SEIA proposes Chinese manufacturers establish a fund to compensate U.S. rivals for losses caused by Chinese state subsidies, and that mechanisms be created to protect U.S. firms from having to deal with a flood of Chinese imports.
    • Both Chinese and U.S. solar names seem to be responding well. JASO +8.6%. SOL +8.4%. TSL +8.2%. SUNE +6.3% (previous). JKS +5.9%. SPWR +5.5%. FSLR +4.2%. YGE +5.8%. JKS +5.9%. CSIQ +3.3%.
    • China and the EU reached a solar anti-dumping settlement in August.
    • Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN.
    | Sep. 25, 2013, 2:45 PM | 2 Comments
  • Sep. 16, 2013, 3:26 PM
    • China says it will impose a 6.5% tariff on materials from most U.S. polysilicon suppliers (TAN +1.4%; (KWT +1.5%) beginning Friday, but that's far short of threats it could slap anti-dumping duties of as much as 57%.
    • The decision follows a U.S. move last year to impose tariffs on Chinese-made solar cells and after China and the EU settled a dispute in July over the alleged dumping of Chinese-made solar panels in Europe.
    • High tariffs on solar-grade polysilicon would have risked hurting Chinese solar manufacturers, which depend on imports of raw materials, by raising their costs.
    • Three U.S. suppliers are exempt: U.S.-based MEMC Pasadena (SUNE -2.2%) and two U.S. subsidiaries of Norway's Renewable Energy.
    • CSUN +1.4%, CSIQ +1.3%, YGE +0.8%, TSL +0.3%, STP -3%, FSLR +1.4%, SPWR +3.4%, JKS -1.6%, JASO -0.2%, SOL +1.2%.
    | Sep. 16, 2013, 3:26 PM | Comment!
  • Sep. 12, 2013, 8:16 AM
    • Solar panel installations in the U.S. jumped 15% to 832 MW during Q2 as booming business for utility-scale systems helped offset weaker demand for residential and commercial projects, according to a report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
    • The utility-scale solar market soared 42% Q/Q, but the report says utilities in California and other key states have slowed their procurement of power from new solar projects.
    • The average installed price of solar systems fell to $3.05/watt from $3.36 in Q1 and $3.43 a year ago, but prices vary greatly state to state and project to project.
    • ETFs: TAN +6.6% premarket; KWT.
    | Sep. 12, 2013, 8:16 AM | 2 Comments
  • Sep. 5, 2013, 1:22 PM
    • A day after JPMorgan provided a big lift to Chinese solar stocks, Deutsche is giving a boost to both Chinese and U.S. names.
    • Analyst Vishal Shah predicts U.S. solar installation growth will total 6GW-8GW in the 2013-2014 timeframe, and that the market could see "an inflection point" in 2015 ahead of a 2016 tax credit expiration.
    • He expects the adoption of new incorporation and leasing structures - a SolarCity (SCTY +4.4%) specialty - to boost growth by lowering financing costs, and views the potential arrival of residential leasing options as another major growth catalyst. In spite of ITC anti-dumping tariffs, Chinese firms are expected to gain share.
    • In addition to SolarCity, winners include First Solar (FSLR +4.9%), Canadian Solar (CSIQ +5.1%), Daqo (DQ +11.9%), Suntech (STP +14%), Trina (TSL +4%), Yingli (YGE +5.6%), SunEdison (SUNE +2.4%), and ReneSola (SOL +2.5%). ETFs are also up: TAN +3%. KWT +2.6%.
    | Sep. 5, 2013, 1:22 PM | 2 Comments
  • Aug. 28, 2013, 10:09 AM
    • Joe Kishkill, most recently an exec at energy services firm Exterran, has been named First Solar's (FSLR +0.6%) chief commercial officer. That puts him in charge of sales, business development, and international public affairs. (PR)
    • CEO James Hughes was First Solar's last chief commercial officer; he was promoted to his current job in May '12.
    • First Solar and global business development VP James Brown "mutually agreed" in April to part ways.
    | Aug. 28, 2013, 10:09 AM | Comment!
  • Aug. 27, 2013, 11:06 AM
    • Citing insufficient cash, LDK (LDK -8%) says it will delay a semi-annual debt coupon payment due tomorrow.
    • LDK's cash/bank deposit balance fell to $285.4M at the end of Q2 from $342.5M at the end of Q1. Meanwhile, its debt balance was north of $2.65B at the end of Q2.
    • Raymond James' Pavel Molchanov: "LDK's balance sheet makes it a 'zombie company.' It only survives due to continued bailouts from local or provincial authorities." The Suntech saga suggests Chinese authorities aren't as quick to embrace solar bailouts as they once were.
    • While many Chinese solar names are now reporting fairly healthy gross margins, LDK's remain bleak. Q2 GM was -46.9% vs. -57% in Q1 and -39.1% a year earlier.
    • LDK's balance sheet and cash issues are a big reason it has largely missed out on this year's giant solar stock rally. Nonetheless, the company and its peers are heading in the same direction (TAN -4.3%) today. YGE -6.9%. CSIQ -5.8%. SPWR -4.9%. CSUN -4.5%. SCTY -4.3%. TSL -4.2%. SUNE -5.7%. FSLR -3.2%.
    • JA Solar (JASO -4.8%) is also among the decliners, even though it has announced a deal to develop 300MW worth of Chinese solar plants.
    • LDK's Q2 results: I, II
    | Aug. 27, 2013, 11:06 AM | Comment!
  • Aug. 26, 2013, 11:01 AM
    • The plants are being sold to a partnership led by GE Energy's financial services arm. Deal terms are undisclosed. (PR)
    • First Solar (FSLR -0.6%) has finished constructing the plans, and will "provide operations and maintenance services" for them via long-term contracts.
    • The sale comes less than a month after First Solar announced a broad-reaching R&D, component purchase, and reseller partnership with GE.
    | Aug. 26, 2013, 11:01 AM | Comment!
  • Aug. 23, 2013, 10:19 AM
    • Pandora (P -12.8%) has been downgraded by Raymond James (Neutral) and Stifel (Hold) following its FQ2 beat, mixed guidance, and decision to remove its mobile listening cap.
    • VMware (VMW +2.7%) has been upgraded to Buy by Jefferies. The company's annual VMworld conference starts on Sunday.
    • CenturyLink (CTL +1.2%) has been upgraded to Neutral by Nomura.
    • Renren (RENN +6.8%) has been upgraded to Hold by Jefferies following the sale of its Nuomi group-buying site to Baidu. The firm downgraded Renren only a week ago.
    • First Solar (FSLR +1%) and Trina Solar (TSL +2.7%) have been upgraded to Market Perform by Raymond James. RJ downgraded First Solar in April.
    • Autodesk (ADSK +12.6%) has been upgraded to Buy by B. Riley. Shares are surging after initially falling in AH trading in response to the light FQ3 guidance accompanying Autodesk's FQ2 beat.
    • (DATE -3.4%) has been cut to Market Perform by Oppenheimer two day after posting Q2 results.
    • SunEdison (SUNE -0.4%) has been upgraded to Buy by Needham a day after announcing plans to spin off its semiconductor wafer ops through an IPO.
    | Aug. 23, 2013, 10:19 AM | Comment!
  • Aug. 8, 2013, 7:45 PM
    | Aug. 8, 2013, 7:45 PM | 25 Comments
  • Aug. 7, 2013, 11:34 AM
    • First Solar (FSLR -13.5%) is tanking following its Q2 miss and light 2013 guidance. Shares still +31% YTD and +253% from their June '12 low.
    • No downgrades have come in yet. Analysts are largely defending the company, talking up the GE deal and focusing on the impact of project sale timings on Q2 results.
    • Solar peers continue to dive (TAN -8.1%) thanks to First Solar and SunEdison's (I, II) results and guidance. SPWR -12.4%. TSL -7.5%. ASTI -7.1%. SCTY -5.5%. CSIQ -7.8%. SOL -9%. JASO -6.8%. LDK -6.5%.
    • First Solar's Q2 module production totaled 388.9MW, +5% Q/Q and Y/Y. Its total cost/watt fell $0.02 Q/Q and $0.05 Y/Y to $0.67. 2013 guidance is for a cost of $0.63-$0.66.
    • Capacity utilization is at 75%, flat Q/Q and +1200 bps Y/Y. Conversion efficiency +10 bps Q/Q and +40 bps Y/Y to 13%. 2013 lead-line exit guidance is at 14%.
    • Expected future module shipments stand at 2.2GW, down from 2.6GW at the end of 2012 (900MW in YTD shipments offsetting 500MW in new bookings). Expected future revenue at $7.6B vs. $8B at end of 2012.
    • CC transcript, slides, datasheet
    | Aug. 7, 2013, 11:34 AM | 2 Comments
  • Aug. 7, 2013, 9:14 AM
    | Aug. 7, 2013, 9:14 AM | Comment!
  • Aug. 6, 2013, 5:44 PM
    | Aug. 6, 2013, 5:44 PM | Comment!
  • Aug. 6, 2013, 4:34 PM
    • First Solar (FSLR) has acquired GE's thin-film (CdTe) solar patent portfolio in exchange for 1.75M shares (current value of $77M). GE promises to retain the shares for at least 3 years. (PR)
    • Also, First Solar is collaborating with GE Global Research on thin-film solar R&D; GE (34GW of global solar installations) has agreed to buy First Solar modules for future deployments, and First Solar has agreed to buy GE's solar inverters for use in its deployments.
    • First Solar also announces it has bought a 1.5GW pipeline of U.S. and Mexican solar projects from private Element Power for an undisclosed sum.
    • Q2 results were hurt by the push-out of the sale of First Solar's Canadian ABW solar projects to 2H.
    • First Solar's 2013 EPS guidance range would've been lowered by only $0.25 (rather than $0.50) if not for dilution from its stock offering and the GE deal.
    • Q2 gross margin was 27.1%, +470 bps Q/Q and +170 bps Y/Y. 2013 gross margin guidance has been raised to 22%-23% from 20%-22%.
    • Exc. restructuring charges, opex +16% Y/Y after multiple quarters of huge declines.
    • FSLR -7.4% AH
    • Q2 results, PR
    | Aug. 6, 2013, 4:34 PM | Comment!
  • Aug. 6, 2013, 4:10 PM
    • First Solar (FSLR): Q2 EPS of $0.39 misses by $0.13.
    • Revenue of $519.8M (-46% Y/Y) misses by $201.3M.
    • Expects 2013 revenue of $3.6B-$3.8B, worse than prior guidance of $3.6B-$4B and consensus of $3.83B.
    • Expects 2013 EPS of $3.50-$4.00, below consensus of $4.14.
    • Shares -3.4% AH. CC at 4:30PM ET (webcast). (PR)
    | Aug. 6, 2013, 4:10 PM | Comment!
FSLR vs. ETF Alternatives
Company Description
First Solar Inc is a provider of solar energy solutions. It designs, manufactures and sells PV solar modules with a thin-film semiconductor technology. It also manufactures crystalline silicon solar modules.