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First Solar climbs as Q3 profit crushes estimates on power-plant sales

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First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), the largest U.S. maker of solar panels, leaped in premarket trades after posting a third-quarter profit jump that trounced analysts’ estimates as sales of power plants and revenue from new projects increased. It also lifted its profit guidance for the full year.

First Solar rose 7.6 percent to $54.15 at 6:07 a.m. in New York.  The stock has more than doubled over the past year, giving the company a market value of $4.91 billion.

Net income in the three months ended Sept. 30 increased to $195 million, or $1.94 a share, from $87.9 million, or $1 a share, in the year-earlier period, the Tempe, Arizona-based company said in a statement yesterday. 

Stripping out one-time items, the company earned $2.28 a share for the quarter. Analysts on average were modeling earnings of 83 cents a share.

Revenue grew 51 percent to $1.3 billion, also beating the average estimate of $988.63 million.

Profit gained as First Solar recorded about half the revenue it expects to receive from its Desert Sunlight project in Southern California and sold plants that it built in Canada, the company said in the statement. The company in August said it expected to record about a third of the 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight project revenue this year.

Looking ahead, First Solar now anticipates earnings between $4.25 a share and $4.50 a share. That's up from its previous guidance of $3.75 a share and $4.25 a share. Analysts predict earnings of $3.76 a share.

The company, however, trimmed its revenue projections for the full year, as revenue from one of its projects might be recognized next year. It now anticipates revenue between $3.4 billion and $3.6 billion, down from its prior guidance of $3.6 billion to $3.8 billion. Analysts are looking for revenue of $3.65 billion.

First Solar also announced yesterday that it is selling a 250-megawatt solar project in Nevada to NextEra Energy Inc. The transaction is expected to close early next year. First Solar did not disclose financial details.

 

 

Quick facts: First Solar, Inc.

Price: 87.46 USD

NASDAQ:FSLR
Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $9.27 billion
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