Restructuring Costs Weighs on First Solar Earnings; Swings to Loss – NASDAQ:FSLR

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) turned to a Q1 loss as restructuring costs weighed on the US solar-panel maker’s results and as the firm as well appointed a new chief executive.

First Solar hired James Hughes, who stepped in First Solar in March as its chief commercial officer, as its fresh CEO. Hughes formerly served as CEO of energy firm AEI.

In October, First Solar revealed that its chief executive Rob Gillette had left the firm. Chairman Mike Ahearn had served as provisional CEO since Gillette’s exit.

Based on decreases to the firm’s cost structure, First Solar as well upgraded its complete-year outlook to $4 to $4.50 per share, from its previous outlook for earnings of $3.75 to $4.25 per share.

First Solar and its competitors have seen their profits and stock prices drop as a worldwide oversupply of solar panels and damaged demand have driven prices down. The industry miseries have driven many solar firms to file for bankruptcy, among them the high-profile collapse of Solyndra LLC, which received over $500 million in government funding.

First Solar posted a loss of $449.4 million, or $5.20 per share, as compared to a year-ago profit of $116 million, or $1.33 per share. The most recent quarter’s results included $401 million in restructuring-related costs. Exclusive of restructuring-related expenses and other impacts, the most recent quarter’s loss was 8 cents per share.

Net sales dropped 12% to $497.1 million, mainly due to lesser average selling prices and poorer volumes for module-only sales.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters projected a 59 cent per-share profit and $682 million in sales.

Shares settled at $18.07 Thursday and were halted in extended trade. The stock declined 87% over the previous 12 months.



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