7 January 2020
First Solar reaches agreement to settle pending class action lawsuit
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 – has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to settle the class action litigation ‘Smilovits versus First Solar Inc et al (No. 2:12-cv-00555-DGC)’ filed in 2012 in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.
First Solar has agreed to pay $350m to settle the claims brought on behalf of all persons who purchased or otherwise acquired the firm’s shares between 30 April 2008 and 28 February 2012. The parties have agreed to negotiate in good faith to execute definitive stipulations of settlement and related documents to be filed with the court, which will not contain any admission of liability, wrongdoing or responsibility by any of the parties and will provide that, upon final approval of the settlement, it will be dismissed with prejudice, with mutual releases by all parties. The settlement is subject to approval by the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.
“While we are confident in the facts and the merits of our position, we believe it is prudent to end this protracted and uncertain class action litigation process, and focus on driving the business forward,” says CEO Mark Widmar. “We remain in a strong financial position, are pleased with our progress with Series 6 and our contracted customer pipeline, and are focused on executing our global strategy and serving our customers,” he adds.
As previously disclosed, given the uncertainties of trial, First Solar says that it had not been in a position to assess the likelihood of any potential loss or adverse effect on its financial condition or to estimate the range of potential loss in connection with the class action. As a result of the MOU, the firm expects that the $350m will be incorporated into the results of operations and financial condition of the company for the fiscal year ended 31 December 2019.
The previously disclosed lawsuit ‘Maverick Fund L.D.C. versus First Solar Inc et al (No. 2:15-cv-01156-ROS)’, filed in Arizona District Court by putative stockholders that opted out of the class action, remains pending. The previously disclosed derivative lawsuit ‘Bargar et al versus Ahearn et al (No. CV2013-009938)’, filed in the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County, also remains pending.