First Solar: 2010 sales to rise by nearly $900M

AP News
Posted: Dec 16, 2009 5:27 PM

First Solar Inc. said Wednesday it expects sales to increase by almost $900 million in 2010 as the solar panel maker expands production.

The company plans to expand its manufacturing center in Kulim, Malaysia, investing $365 million in new production lines. Combined with a previously announced expansion in France, First Solar said its production capacity should increase more than 48 percent from current levels.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based company projected sales between $2.7 billion and $2.9 billion for 2010, with earnings ranging from $6.05 to $6.85 per share. The manufacturer earlier this year forecast 2009 sales between $1.975 billion and $2.025 billion.

On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect First Solar to post 2009 revenue of nearly $2 billion and 2010 earnings of $6.55 per share on revenue of $2.4 billion.

First Solar said its total capital spending should range from $500 million to $550 million in 2010. It also expects to generate between $730 million and $790 million of operating cash flow and between $180 million and $290 million of free cash flow.

Shares gave up $2.25 to close at $136.74, but jumped $4.81, or 3.5 percent, to $142 in after-hours trading following the announcement.