First Solar (FSLR)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call

July 29, 2010 4:30 pm ET


Jens Meyerhoff - Chief Financial Officer and President of the Utility Systems Business Group

Robert Gillette - Chief Executive Officer and Director

Bruce Sohn - President

Larry Polizzotto - Vice President of Investor Relations


Stuart Bush - RBC Capital Markets Corporation

Smittipon Srethapramote - Morgan Stanley

Mark Wienkes - Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Colin Rusch - ThinkEquity LLC

Stephen Chin - UBS Investment Bank

Pavel Molchanov - Raymond James & Associates

Marc Bachman - Auriga USA LLC

Kelly Dougherty - Macquarie Research

Sanjay Shrestha - Lazard Capital Markets LLC

Vishal Shah - Barclays Capital

Gary Hsueh - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.

Timothy Arcuri - Citigroup Inc

Satya Kumar - Crédit Suisse AG

Burt Chao - Simmons

Christopher Blansett - JP Morgan Chase & Co

Daniel Ries - Collins Stewart LLC



Good day, everyone, and welcome to the First Solar Second Quarter 2010 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Larry Polizzotto, Vice President of Investor Relations for First Solar, Inc. Mr. Polizzotto, you may begin.

Larry Polizzotto

Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us for First Solar's Second Quarter 2010 Conference Call. Today after the market closed, the company issued a press release announcing its second quarter financial results. If you did not receive a copy of the press release, you can obtain one from the Investors section of First Solar website at In addition, First Solar has posted the presentation for this call, key quarterly financial metrics, historical data and financial and operating performance on the IR website. We'll be discussing the presentation during this call and webcast. An audio replay of this conference call will also be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of this call. The audio replay will remain available until Tuesday, August 3, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time and can be accessed by dialing (888) 203-1112 if you're calling within the United States or (719) 457-0820 if you're calling from outside the United States and entering replay pass code 7770641.

A replay of the webcast will be available on the Investors section on the company's website approximately two hours after the conclusion of this call and remain available for approximately 90 calendar days. Investors may access the webcast on the Investors section of the company's website on If you are a subscriber of FactSet or Thomson One, you can obtain a written transcript.

With me today are Rob Gillette, Chief Executive Officer; Jens Meyerhoff, Chief Financial Officer and President of Utility Systems Business Group; and Bruce Sohn, President of First Solar. Rob will present an overview of the company's second quarter and give an update of the market and our business. Jens will review the second quarter operational and financial results and update guidance for 2010. We will then open up the call for questions.

During the Q&A period, as a courtesy to those individuals seeking to ask questions, we ask that the participants limit themself to one question. The company has allocated approximately one hour for today's call. All financial numbers reported and discussed on today's call are based on U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, except free cash flow, which is a non-GAAP measure, which is reconciled to operating cash flow in the back of our presentation.

Now I'd like to make a brief statement regarding forward-looking remarks you may hear on today's call. During the course of the call, the company will make projections and other comments that are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal Securities laws. The forward-looking statements in this call are based on current information and expectations and are subject to uncertainties and changes in circumstance and do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Those statements involve a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those statements, including the risks as described in the company's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and other filings within the Securities and Exchange Commission. First Solar assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this call or with respect to announcements described herein.

During the third quarter of 2010, the company will be attending the following conferences: Canaccord’s Global Growth Conference in Boston on August 11; Citi's Technology Conference in New York City on September 8; Cowen's Clean Energy Conference in New York City on September 14; ThinkEquity's, Kaufman’s and Ardor’s conferences in New York City on September 15 through 16; and Wedbush Clean Technology Conference in San Francisco on September 15.

It's now my pleasure to introduce Rob Gillette, Chief Executive Officer of First Solar. Rob?

Robert Gillette

Thanks, Larry, and thanks, everybody, for joining our second quarter earnings call today. I want to quickly turn to the performance summary. We had a really strong quarter with net sales of $588 million, which was 12% growth year-over-year. Our net income was $159 million or 27.1% of net sales, and diluted earnings per share was $1.84.

The return on net assets was 21.1% on a fourth quarter rolling basis, and marketable securities were $960 million, which is $232 million increase year-over-year. Our production in the quarter was 344-megawatt, up 19% versus prior year and 7% quarter-over-quarter. The annual capacity per line increased to 59-megawatt, which equates to adding two new production lines to our existing and planned capacity. This improvement increases our current and announced capacity to 2.2 gigawatt by 2012.

Our conversion efficiency was 11.2%, which is an improvement of $0.03 year-over-year. The cost per watt was $0.76, which is down 13% year-over-year and down $0.05 from the first quarter of 2010. We're on track with our expansion to the Malaysian facility and the addition of Plants 5 and 6. Shipments will begin in the first half of 2011. We also recently announced the addition of a new four-line plant in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, where shipments will begin in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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