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First Solar, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Financial Results and 2024 Guidance

TEMPE, Ariz. , February 27 /Businesswire/ - First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) (the “Company”) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2023.

Net sales for the fourth quarter were $1.2 billion, an increase of $0.4 billion from the prior quarter. The increase was primarily a result of increased module sales in the fourth quarter. Net sales for the full year 2023 were $3.3 billion compared to $2.6 billion in the prior year. This increase was driven by higher module volumes sold and average selling prices (“ASPs”).

The Company reported fourth quarter net income per diluted share of $3.25 and full year net income per diluted share of $7.74.

Cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash, restricted cash equivalents, and marketable securities, less debt at the end of the fourth quarter increased to $1.6 billion from $1.3 billion at the end of the prior quarter. The increase was primarily a result of operating cash flows, offset by capital expenditures related to manufacturing capacity expansions in Alabama, Ohio, Louisiana, and India.

“Few years have been as consequential to our long-term growth strategy as 2023,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. “Over the past year, we scaled manufacturing capacity, mobilized at our latest announced facility in Louisiana, produced and shipped a record volume of modules, expanded our contracted backlog to historic levels, increased R&D investment, and continued to evolve our technology and product roadmap.”

Forecasted net sales for 2024 are $4.4 billion to $4.6 billion. Operating income is forecasted to be $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion, which includes production start-up expense of $85 million to $95 million, underutilization costs associated with factory ramp of $40 million to $60 million, and Section 45X tax credits of $1.0 billion to $1.05 billion. Forecasted net income per diluted share is $13.00 to $14.00. The year-end 2024 net cash balance is projected to be in the range of $0.9 billion to $1.2 billion. The complete 2024 guidance is as follows:

 

2024 Guidance

Net Sales

$4.4B to $4.6B

Gross Margin (1)

$2.0B to $2.1B

Operating Expenses (2)

$455M to $485M

Operating Income (3)

$1.5B to $1.6B

Earnings per Diluted Share

$13.00 to $14.00

Net Cash Balance (4)

$0.9B to $1.2B

Capital Expenditures

$1.7B to $1.9B

Volume Sold

15.6GW to 16.3GW

——————————

(1)

Includes $40 million to $60 million of ramp costs and $1.0 billion to $1.05 billion of Section 45X tax credits

(2)

Includes $85 million to $95 million of production start-up expense

(3)

Includes $125 million to $155 million of production start-up expense and ramp costs, and $1.0 billion to $1.05 billion of Section 45X tax credits

(4)

Defined as cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash, restricted cash equivalents, and marketable securities, less expected debt at the end of 2024

The guidance figures presented above are forward-looking statements that are subject to a variety of assumptions and estimates, including with respect to certain factors related to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the “IRA”). Among other things, such factors include (i) the total advanced manufacturing production credit available to us under Section 45X of the Internal Revenue Code and (ii) the timing and ability to monetize such credit. Investors are encouraged to listen to the conference call and to review the accompanying materials, which contain more information about First Solar’s fourth quarter and full year 2023 financial results, 2024 guidance, and financial outlook.

Conference Call Details

First Solar has scheduled a conference call for today, February 27, 2024 at 4:30 p.m. ET, to discuss this announcement. A live webcast of this conference call and accompanying materials are available at investor.firstsolar.com. An audio replay of the conference call will be available through Thursday, March 28, 2024 and can be accessed by dialing +1 (800) 770-2030 if you are calling from within the United States or +1 (647) 362-9199 if you are calling from outside the United States and entering the replay passcode 92259. A replay of the webcast will also be available on the Investors section of the Company’s website approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call and remain available for 30 days.

About First Solar, Inc.

First Solar is a leading American solar technology company and global provider of responsibly-produced eco-efficient solar modules advancing the fight against climate change. Developed at research and development labs in California and Ohio, the Company’s advanced thin film photovoltaic (“PV”) modules represent the next generation of solar technologies, providing a competitive, high-performance, lower-carbon alternative to conventional crystalline silicon PV panels. From raw material sourcing and manufacturing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s approach to technology embodies sustainability and a responsibility towards people and the planet. For more information, please visit www.firstsolar.com.

For First Solar Investors

This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements in this release, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning: demand for our technology; increased research and development investment; new domestic and international capacity coming online; production and delivery of our new Series 7 modules; our financial guidance for 2024, including future financial results, net sales, gross margin, operating expenses, operating income, earnings per diluted share, net cash balance, capital expenditures, volume sold, shipments, bookings, products and our business and financial objectives for 2024; the availability of benefits under certain production linked incentive programs, and the impact of the IRA including the total advanced manufacturing production credit available to us under Section 45X of the Internal Revenue Code. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as “estimate,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “plan,” “intend,” “seek,” “believe,” “forecast,” “foresee,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “goal,” “target,” “might,” “will,” “could,” “predict,” “continue,” “contingent” and the negative or plural of these words and other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and our projections about future events and therefore speak only as of the date of this release. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements for any reason, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to: structural imbalances in global supply and demand for PV solar modules; our competitive position and other key competitive factors; the reduction, elimination, expiration or introduction of government subsidies, policies, and support programs for solar energy projects; the impact of public policies, such as tariffs or other trade remedies imposed on solar cells and modules; the passage of legislation intended to encourage renewable energy investments through tax credits, such as the IRA; the impact of the IRA on our expected results of operations in future periods, which may be affected by technical guidance, regulations, subsequent amendments or interpretations of the law; interest rate fluctuations and both our and our customers’ ability to secure financing; changes in the exchange rates between the functional currencies of our subsidiaries and other currencies in which assets and liabilities are denominated; our ability to execute on our long-term strategic plans; the loss of any of our large customers, or the ability of our customers and counterparties to perform under their contracts with us; our ability to execute on our solar module technology and cost reduction roadmaps; our ability to improve the wattage of our solar modules; our ability to incorporate technology improvements into our manufacturing process, including the production of bifacial solar modules and the implementation of our Copper Replacement (“CuRe”) program; the satisfaction of conditions precedent in our sales agreements; our ability to attract new customers and to develop and maintain existing customer and supplier relationships; general economic and business conditions, including those influenced by U.S., international, and geopolitical events; environmental responsibility, including with respect to cadmium telluride (“CdTe”) and other semiconductor materials; claims under our limited warranty obligations; changes in, or the failure to comply with, government regulations and environmental, health, and safety requirements; effects arising from and results of pending litigation; future collection and recycling costs for solar modules covered by our module collection and recycling program; supply chain disruptions, including demurrage and detention charges; our ability to protect our intellectual property; our ability to prevent and/or minimize the impact of cyber-attacks or other breaches of our information systems; our continued investment in research and development; the supply and price of components and raw materials, including CdTe; our ability to construct new production facilities to support new product lines; evolving corporate governance and public disclosure regulations and expectations, including with respect to environmental, social and governance matters; our ability to avoid manufacturing interruptions, including during the ramp of our Series 7 modules manufacturing facilities; our ability to attract and retain key executive officers and associates; the severity and duration of public health threats, including the potential impact on our business, financial condition, and results of operations; and the matters discussed under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as supplemented by our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

FIRST SOLAR, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(In thousands, except share data)

 

 

 

December 31,

 

 

 

2023

 

 

 

2022

 

ASSETS

 

 

 

 

Current assets:

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

1,946,994

 

 

$

1,481,269

 

Marketable securities

 

 

155,495

 

 

 

1,096,712

 

Accounts receivable trade, net

 

 

660,776

 

 

 

324,337

 

Government grants receivable, net

 

 

659,745

 

 

 

 

Inventories

 

 

819,899

 

 

 

621,376

 

Other current assets

 

 

391,900

 

 

 

267,727

 

Total current assets

 

 

4,634,809

 

 

 

3,791,421

 

Property, plant and equipment, net

 

 

4,397,285

 

 

 

3,536,902

 

Deferred tax assets, net

 

 

142,819

 

 

 

78,680

 

Restricted marketable securities

 

 

198,310

 

 

 

182,070

 

Government grants receivable

 

 

152,208

 

 

 

 

Goodwill

 

 

29,687

 

 

 

14,462

 

Intangible assets, net

 

 

64,511

 

 

 

31,106

 

Inventories

 

 

266,899

 

 

 

260,395

 

Other assets

 

 

478,604

 

 

 

356,192

 

Total assets

 

$

10,365,132

 

 

$

8,251,228

 

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities:

 

 

 

 

Accounts payable

 

$

207,178

 

 

$

341,409

 

Income taxes payable

 

 

22,134

 

 

 

29,397

 

Accrued expenses

 

 

524,829

 

 

 

382,782

 

Current portion of debt

 

 

96,238

 

 

 

 

Deferred revenue

 

 

413,579

 

 

 

263,215

 

Other current liabilities

 

 

42,200

 

 

 

21,245

 

Total current liabilities

 

 

1,306,158

 

 

 

1,038,048

 

Accrued solar module collection and recycling liability

 

 

135,123

 

 

 

128,114

 

Long-term debt

 

 

464,068

 

 

 

184,349

 

Deferred revenue

 

 

1,591,604

 

 

 

944,725

 

Other liabilities

 

 

180,710

 

 

 

119,937

 

Total liabilities

 

 

3,677,663

 

 

 

2,415,173

 

Commitments and contingencies

 

 

 

 

Stockholders’ equity:

 

 

 

 

Common stock, $0.001 par value per share; 500,000,000 shares authorized; 106,847,475 and 106,609,094 shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively

 

 

107

 

 

 

107

 

Additional paid-in capital

 

 

2,890,427

 

 

 

2,887,476

 

Accumulated earnings

 

 

3,971,066

 

 

 

3,140,289

 

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

 

 

(174,131

)

 

 

(191,817

)

Total stockholders’ equity

 

 

6,687,469

 

 

 

5,836,055

 

Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity

 

$

10,365,132

 

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