(Adds details, outlook, shares)
May 2 First Solar Inc, the largest U.S.
solar equipment manufacturer, posted a surprise profit, helped
by the sale of the Moapa project and cost-cutting.
Shares of the company, which also raised its full-year
revenue forecast, rose 6.7 percent in extended trading on
First Solar also said it expected a larger adjusted profit,
citing increased visibility into some upcoming project sales.
The company said in March it sold the 250-megawatt Moapa
project, located northeast of Las Vegas, to global private asset
manager Capital Dynamics.
Total operating expenses fell 5.6 percent to $92.2 million
in the first quarter ended March 31.
The company said it expects full-year revenue of $2.85
billion-$2.95 billion, slightly above its previous forecast of
$2.8 billion-$2.9 billion.
First Solar said it now sees adjusted profit between 25-75
cents per share, well above its previous forecast of breakeven
to 50 cents.
The company's net profit slumped to $9.1 million, or 9 cents
per share, in the first quarter from $195.6 million, or $1.90
per share, a year earlier.
The latest quarter was hurt by pre-tax restructuring and
asset impairment charges of $20 million.
First Solar said in November it would cut about 27 percent
of its workforce and transition to a new product ahead of
The company is bringing forward production of its Series 6
modules by a year to 2018 and abandoning plans for the Series 5
product. First Solar originally expected the Series 5 and 6
products to be on the market at the same time.
Excluding items, the company earned 25 cents per share.
Analysts on average had estimated a loss of 13 cents per
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company said net sales rose to $891.8 million from
$876.1 million, handily beating analysts' estimate of $667.8
(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj