First Solar steps up a gear

Bloomberg News              First Solar Inc. now projects a loss of $2 to $4 a share for the year

Bloomberg News First Solar Inc. now projects a loss of $2 to $4 a share for the year

FSLR stock has already lost 50% in the year-to-date as compared to S&P 500 which gained nearly nine percent in the same period.

The company plans to speed up the production of Series 6 module into 2018, with approximately 3GW of production expected in 2019.

Chief Executive Mark Widmar said earlier this month that if the company can not reduce the cost of the Series 5, it will speed up the introduction of the next-generation Series 6. The Company designs, manufactures and sells PV solar modules with thin-film semiconductor technology, and also develops, designs, constructs and sells PV solar power solutions.

First Solar said: "The Company will reduce its workforce at its manufacturing facilities both domestically and internationally as a result of the transition from Series 4 to Series 6 production".

First Solar originally expected the Series 5 and 6 products to be on the market at the same time. The restructuring is really about regaining its industry leader position by hunkering down for a year and putting a more cost-competitive product on the market. In a hard business cycle for solar, one of the more conservative and effective PV manufacturing leaders is preparing for a rough spell in 2017 and 2018, despite raising its 2016 EPS guidance.

Considering the shakeup and asset-impairment charges, valued at $500 million to $700 million, First Solar now expects a loss of $2 to $4 a share for the year, but elevated its adjusted profit forecast by 30 cents to a range of $4.60 to $4.80 a share. The company's revenue was down -45.9 % compared to the same quarter last year.During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $3.38 EPS.

The solar module manufacturer also now projects GAAP net sales of $2.5 billion to $2.6 billion for 2017 with a gross margin of 12.5% to 14.5%. It expects to ship between 2.4 gigawatts and 2.6 gigawatts of modules in 2017.

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