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10 December 2015

First Solar full-year sales expected to rise to $3.9-4.1bn in 2016

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services, says that for full-year 2016 it expects net sales of $3.9-4.1bn (compared with $3.5-3.6bn forecasted for full-year 2015), with solar power systems comprising 90-95% and third-party module sales the remainder. Shipments are expected to rise from 2015’s 2.8-2.9GW to 2.9-3.0GW.

Gross margin should fall from 24-25% in 2015 to 16-18% in 2016. Operating expenses should be cut from $395-405m to $380-400m. Despite this, operating income is expected to fall from $450-490m to $260-330m.
Capital expenditures of $300-400m will roughly double from 2015’s forecasted $175-200m as the firm invests in further advancements in its cost and technology roadmap. 

Including a gain of about $200m from the expected sale of an equity method investment and the firm’s share of earnings from 8point3 Energy Partners LP (a limited partnership formed in March with solar panel and system maker SunPower Corp of San Jose, CA, USA to own and operate a portfolio of selected solar energy generation assets), earnings per fully diluted share are forecasted to be $4.00-4.50 (compared with 2015’s forecasted $4.30-4.50).

Operating cash flow is expected to be $500-700m (not including about $450m from the expected sale of an equity method investment treated as an investing cash flow). Overall, the net cash balance (cash and marketable securities minus expected debt) is projected to rise from $1.3-1.4m at the end of 2015 to $2-2.3bn at the end of 2016.

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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