Log in
E-mail
Password
Remember
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
Settings
Settings
Dynamic quotes 
OFFON

4-Traders Homepage  >  Equities  >  Nasdaq  >  First Solar, Inc.    FSLR

SummaryQuotesChartsNewsAnalysisCalendarCompanyFinancialsConsensusRevisions 
News SummaryMost relevantAll newsSector newsTweets

First Solar Trims Manufacturing, Cuts Global Staff By 30%

share with twitter share with LinkedIn share with facebook
share via e-mail
0
04/17/2012 | 07:56pm CEST

--First Solar says it will shut its German solar-panel factory and cut production at its Malaysia facilities

--The company will also cut 2,000 jobs, nearly one-third of its work force

--The moves, estimated to save up to $60 million this year, come at a difficult time for solar-panel makers

(Updates with comments from First Solar spokesman in third paragraph, analyst in tenth paragraph and other details)

By Cassandra Sweet and Melodie Warner

Of

First Solar Inc. (>> First Solar, Inc.) said Tuesday it will close its German factory, cut production at its factory complex in Malaysia and trim almost a third of its workforce, in a sign that falling prices and a global oversupply of solar panels have increasingly taken a toll on the industry giant.

First Solar, of Tempe, Ariz., said that it would cut 2,000 jobs, or about 30% of its workforce and shut down its solar-panel factory near Frankfurt this fall as part of a restructuring of its operations in the face of "deteriorating market conditions in Europe," which has been the world's largest solar market.

"We're essentially re-sizing our production output for what we view as sustainable, high-visibility demand," said First Solar spokesman Ted Meyer.

First Solar shares were trading 11.3% higher at about $23.17 amid a broad rise in the stock market, which pushed up most solar stocks. The company's stock has plunged by about 85% from a year ago.

First Solar, which was one of the world's top solar-panel suppliers in recent years, has seen its fortunes decline amid fierce competition from well-financed rivals in China that have grown quickly and competed fiercely for markets where demand has been largely dependent on government subsidies.

The rise of China's solar-power industry prompted a group of U.S. solar-panel makers, led by SolarWorld AG (>> SolarWorld AG), to file a trade complaint against Chinese solar-panel makers with the U.S. government. That case is still pending.

The falling prices and solar-panel glut have also prompted solar-panel makers such German-based Q-Cells and Solon Inc. to file for bankruptcy.

To secure a competitive edge, First solar has built a solar-farm development business that has about 2,800 megawatts of projects in the pipeline. First Solar has obtained government loans for some of the solar projects, and has sold several of the projects to large energy companies, including NRG Energy Inc. (NRG), Exelon Corp. (>> Exelon Corporation) and Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s (BRKA, BRKB) MidAmerican Energy Co. unit.

First Solar's manufacturing cuts were welcomed on Wall Street, where investors have worried about the company's exposure to the global solar-panel glut.

But the move could be a sign that First Solar is having trouble competing against Chinese rivals, as the global solar-power market moves toward rooftop solar-power system, rather than large-scale utility power plants, which are First Solar's forte, said Jesse Pichel, an analyst at Jefferies Group Inc.

"This was a market leader, but its technology is being usurped or surpassed by the Chinese," Pichel said. "Their product is not competitive in the most economic and sustainable solar market, which is rooftop."

First Solar sees the utility-scale solar-power market "as the most cost-effective way to integrate solar to the grid," Meyer said. He added that the company "may at some point in the future revisit the rooftop solar market," but that it wasn't the company's "strategic focus right now."

The company's earnings have mostly slumped over the past year as reduced government subsidies and heated competition forces most solar-panel producers to retrench.

First Solar expects the restructuring initiatives to cut its costs by $30 million to $60 million this year, and by $100 million to $120 million a year afterward.

The company will book restructuring and other related charges of $245 million to $370 million, and expects to record the costs primarily in the first quarter.

"After a thorough analysis, it is clear the European market has deteriorated to the extent that our operations there are no longer economically sustainable, and maintaining those operations is not in the best long-term interest of our stakeholders," said Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Mike Ahearn.

First Solar reported in February it swung to a fourth-quarter loss on write-downs and other charges as net sales climbed 8%. The company had also cut its 2012 revenue guidance, saying it would cut back production at its factories to match supply with weaker-than-expected global solar-power demand.

-By Cassandra Sweet and Melodie Warner, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2283; melodie.warner@dowjones.com

Stocks mentioned in the article : First Solar, Inc., Exelon Corporation, SolarWorld AG
share with twitter share with LinkedIn share with facebook
share via e-mail
0
Latest news on FIRST SOLAR, INC.
08/22 FIRST SOLAR, INC. : Today's Research Reports on Stocks to Watch: First Solar and..
08/22 FIRST SOLAR : Sells California Flats Project to Capital Dynamics
08/19 FIRST SOLAR : DESRI acquires 40MW California PV project from First Solar
08/18 FIRST SOLAR : D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments Acquires Cuyama Solar Project fro..
08/17 FIRST SOLAR : to deliver 241 MW modules to build two PV projects in Australia
08/17 8POINT3 ENERGY PARTNERS LP (NASDAQ : CAFD) Files An 8-K Other Events
08/17 FIRST SOLAR : D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments Acquires Cuyama Solar Project fro..
08/12 FIRST SOLAR : Awarded 241MW Module Supply Contract for Edify Energy Solar Projec..
08/08 FIRST SOLAR : Idfc alternatives infra fund buys seven solar projects
08/07 FIRST SOLAR : Releases 2017 Sustainability Report
More news
News from SeekingAlpha
08/22 WALL STREET BREAKFAST : Strength In The Defense Sector
08/21 Solar stocks fell today but most analysts don't blame eclipse
08/21 Solar company stocks sink amid eclipse
08/17 A Reversal In The Energy Sector As Big Business Abandons The White House
08/15 U.S. solar sector argues as D.C. tariff hearing begins
Financials ($)
Sales 2017 3 051 M
EBIT 2017 152 M
Net income 2017 192 M
Finance 2017 1 535 M
Yield 2017 -
P/E ratio 2017 32,17
P/E ratio 2018 47,73
EV / Sales 2017 1,09x
EV / Sales 2018 1,48x
Capitalization 4 865 M
Chart FIRST SOLAR, INC.
Duration : Period :
First Solar, Inc. Technical Analysis Chart | FSLR | US3364331070 | 4-Traders
Technical analysis trends FIRST SOLAR, INC.
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
TrendsBullishBullishBullish
Income Statement Evolution
Consensus
Sell
Buy
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 19
Average target price 51,8 $
Spread / Average Target 11%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Mark R. Widmar Chief Executive Officer & Director
Michael J. Ahearn Non-Executive Chairman
Philip Tymen de Jong Chief Operating Officer
Alexander R. Bradley Chief Financial Officer
Raffi Garabedian Chief Technology Officer
Sector and Competitors