The stock was last quoted at $33.52, down 8%, on volume of nearly 1.5 million, according to
For the three months ended Dec. 31, First Solar posted a non-GAAP profit of $110 million, or $1.26 a share, on net sales of $660 million, a total that was down more than 30% on a sequential basis. The average estimate of analysts polled by
was for earnings of $1.53 a share on sales of $779.3 million.
The company attributed the sequential sales decline to "the timing of revenue recognition in our systems business and lower volume for module-only sales."
First Solar left intact a forecast for earnings of $3.75 to $3.95 a share in 2012, excluding impairment charges, but it cut its revenue view to between $3.5 billion and $3.8 billion from a prior projection of $3.7 billion to $4 billion.
The company dropped its operating cash flow forecast to $800 million to $900 million from a previous view of $900 million to $1.1 billion.
"First Solar's performance in the quarter was impacted by an aggressive competitive environment, an uncertain regulatory environment, warranty-related charges, and restructuring costs incurred to help position our business for the future," said Mike Ahearn, the company's chairman and interim CEO, in a statement.
One of the worst performers of 2011, First Solar shares are down more than 75% in the past year based on Tuesday's regular-session close at $36.40, despite a 5%-plus bounce since the start of 2012.
Check out TheStreet's quote page for First Solar for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more.
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Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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