News Article

First Solar Announces Increase In Quarterly Revenues

First Solar has announced its quarterly results for the last three months of 2009.

Compound semiconductor and advanced photovoltaic technology manufacturer First Solar has announced an increase in its quarterly revenues as part of its fourth quarter results for 2009.

The company posted a figure of $641.3 million (£420.17 million) for the three-month period - up from its previous quarterly announcement of $480.9 million and significantly higher than its Q4 2008 revenue of $433.7 million.

Revenue for the full fiscal year totalled $2.066 billion - a significant increase from 2008 s revenue of $1.246 billion.

Net income for the fourth quarter stood at $141.6 million - or $1.65 per share - down from the Q3 2009 results of $153.3 million - $1.79 per share. For the year in full, net income for 2009 totalled $640.1 million or $7.53 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared to net income of $348.3 million for 2008 or $4.24 per share.

The company is presently listed on the US Nasdaq stock market and is trading as FSLR with a share price of $104.66 (Feb 26th, 12:03 EST). It was formed in 1999 and launched its first products in 2002.
In addition, the firm forecast net sales for 2010 of $2.7 billion to $2.9 billion, with total capital expenditure expected to be in the region of between $500 million and $550 million. As a result, the company expects to generate operating cash flow of $730 million to $790 million and free cash flow of $180 million to $290 million.

During a conference call to discuss the results, chief executive officer of First Solar Rob Gilette noted: "We continue to position ourselves in North America and have a significant base in the development business with strong demand from our customers and the pipeline continuing to develop.

"We believe this will buffer our concerns about what s happening in Europe and the business as a whole."

He claimed the firm is looking to drive down costs in order to further expand its market and, after selling projects totalling in excess of 100 MW in 2009, it would appear there is a genuine appetite for photovoltaic panels in the European marketplace.

"Our goal and First Solar s goal overall remains to reach stable market economics, where we can compete with and be positioned versus fossil fuel in the electricity market and it will grow the market in general, much more substantially than the subsidised markets that exist today," Mr Gilette added.

 The company managed to break the "holy grail" of grid parity at $1 per watt in 2008 and is now the largest manufacturer of thin film solar modules in the world, having expanded its capacity to 54.3 MW in the fourth quarter of last year.

While not yet able to deliver this magic number, the company is expanding at a rapid pace. In the space of the last 18 months, the firm s share price has risen from $25 to $250 each and it has secured contracts for its products worth billions of dollars.

The photovoltaic panels developed by First Solar use cadmium telluride compound semiconductors to improve efficiency and couple this with the company s top secret manufacturing processes - which enable the construction of panels in under 2.5 hours - and the firm looks set for success in the future.

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