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First Solar swings to quarterly profit, forecasts higher sales in 2024

Published 02/27/2024, 05:58 PM
Updated 02/27/2024, 06:45 PM
© Reuters. Miniatures of solar panel and electric pole are seen in front of First Solar logo in this illustration taken January 17, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Sourasis Bose and Saikeerthi .

(Reuters) -First Solar on Tuesday swung to a profit in the fourth quarter and forecast higher sales in 2024 on resilient demand for renewable energy.

Solar module supply in the United States has remained comparatively isolated from the oversupply witnessed globally due to tariffs limiting imports from China, which has expanded its manufacturing capacity across the solar supply chain.

Shares of First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) rose 4.5% after the bell.

First Solar forecast its 2024 net sales in the range of $4.4 billion to $4.6 billion, compared with average analysts' estimate of $4.56 billion, according to LSEG data.

"Despite industry macro challenges such as global oversupply and pricing volatility, we continue to see strong mid- to long-term demand, especially in the United States," said CEO Mark Widmar in a conference call.

The company forecast annual sales volumes to be between 15.6 gigawatt and 16.3 GW and net income to come between $13 to $14 per share.

The Tempe, Arizona-based company also expects 45X tax credits under Inflation Reduction Act, offered for each product manufactured domestically in the United States, to be between $1 billion and $1.05 billion.

"What's very important to emphasize is that two-thirds of the profitability is coming from the Section 45X manufacturing incentive. In other words, without this subsidy, EPS would (theoretically) be a lot closer to $4 than $13," said Pavel Molchanov, analyst, Raymond James.

© Reuters. Miniatures of solar panel and electric pole are seen in front of First Solar logo in this illustration taken January 17, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The company reported a net profit of $349 million, or $3.25 per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31, versus a loss of $7.5 million, or 7 cents per share, in the previous year.

Its net sales in the fourth quarter rose by about 20% to $1.2 billion from a year-ago period.

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