First Solar Earnings Cheat Sheet: Higher Expenses Shrinks Margins, Profit Declines

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) reported its results for the second quarter. First Solar, Inc. designs and manufactures solar electric power modules using a proprietary thin film semiconductor technology. .

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First Solar Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Second Quarter

Results: Net income for First Solar, Inc. fell to $61.1 million (70 cents per share) vs. $159 million ($1.84 per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 61.6% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Fell 9.4% to $532.8 million from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: FSLR fell short of the mean analyst estimate of 93 cents per share. It fell short of the average revenue estimate of $583.4 million.

Quoting Management: “First Solar continued to execute in the quarter despite a challenging European market, and our 2011 outlook remains solid due to our differentiated and resilient business model,” said Rob Gillette, CEO of First Solar. “We expect stronger performance in the second half of 2011 as we build projects from our systems pipeline, develop promising new markets, execute our cost reduction roadmaps and continue to improve module efficiencies.”

Key Stats:

From the first quarter, the company’s current liabilities rose to $591.9 million from $469.9 million.

Gross margin shrank 11.8 percentage points to 36.6%. The contraction appeared to be driven by increased costs, which rose 11.3% from the year earlier quarter while revenue fell 9.4%.

The company has now seen net income fall in each of the last two quarters. In the first quarter, net income fell 32.7% from the year earlier quarter.

The company fell short of forecasts after beating estimates in the previous two quarters. In the first quarter, it topped the mark by 17 cents, and in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, it was ahead by 4 cents.

Revenue has fallen for the past three quarters. In the first quarter, revenue declined 0.1% to $567.3 million while the figure fell 4.9% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year earlier.

Competitors to Watch: SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWRA), Suntech Power Hldgs. Co., Ltd. (NYSE:STP), Trina Solar Limited (NYSE:TSL), General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), Yingli Green Energy Hold. Co. Ltd. (NYSE:YGE), MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE:WFR), Evergreen Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:ESLR), Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENER), DayStar Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:DSTI), and Ascent Solar Tech., Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTI).

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(Source: Xignite Financials)

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