The fourth quarter loss per share came to $6.92, compared to earnings per share of $1.63 in the year-ago period, reflecting a drop in sales and restructuring charges. Net sales dropped to $480mln in the quarter from $1942mln, compared to market forecasts of $404mln.
Adjusted for one-off items including restructuring charges and a tax expenses, the company earned $1.24 per share in the quarter, beating expectations of $1.01 a share.
The group raised its 2017 guidance on net sales to a range of $2.8bn to $2.9bn from a previous estimate of $2.5bn to $2.6bn. The final structuring of its solar project in the Moapa River Reservation, located north of Las Vegas, means revenue from this will be recognised in the full year results.
First Solar also lifted its projection on operating expenses in 2017, which the company said reflects the timing of certain restructuring charges that are expected in the current fiscal year. It now expects operating expenses between $335mln to $380mln, compared to a previous $290mln to $305mln. The forecast range for adjusted earnings per share in 2017 is 5c to 80c, up from a previously expected range of a 10c loss per share to 45c earnings per share.
Shares declined 5.02% to $34.72 in early US trading.