- Net sales of $2.2 billion for 2018 and $691 million for the fourth quarter
- Net income per share of $1.36 for 2018 and $0.49 for the fourth quarter
- Cash and marketable securities of $2.5 billion, net cash of $2.1 billion
- 5.6GWDC of 2018 net bookings; 1.3GWDC of 2019 YTD net bookings
- Series 6 production commenced at fourth factory location
- Maintain 2019 EPS guidance of $2.25 to $2.75
First Solar, Inc. today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2018. Net sales for the fourth quarter were $691 million, an increase of $15 million from the prior quarter, primarily due to the sale of certain projects in Japan.
The Company reported fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.49, compared to $0.54 in the third quarter.
Cash and marketable securities at the end of the fourth quarter decreased to $2.5 billion from $2.7 billion at the end of the prior quarter. The decrease primarily resulted from capital investments in Series 6 manufacturing capacity, factory ramp activities, and the timing of cash receipts from certain systems project sales.
"We had a number of notable accomplishments in 2018, including strong net bookings of 5.6GWDC and the start of Series 6 production at three factories," said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar. "Our Series 6 progress in 2019 continues to be encouraging with the start of production at a fourth factory and ongoing improvements in throughput and efficiency at our existing facilities. We continue to see good demand for Series 6, and our pipeline of contracted shipments positions us well for the year."
2019 guidance was updated to reflect lower expected operating expenses, primarily associated with a decrease in expected production start-up. In addition, gross margin guidance was lowered by 50 basis points due to expected increases in ramp costs. These adjustments offset, and the associated EPS and net cash balance guidance ranges are unchanged. The complete 2019 guidance is as follows:
(1) Includes $35 to $45 million of ramp costs ($20 to $30 million previously)
(2) Includes $75 to $85 million of production start-up expense ($90 to $100 million previously)
(3) Defined as cash and marketable securities less expected debt at the end of 2019