April 17, 2012
Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR ) are shining brightly today on gains upwards of 14%, as the company outlined a restructuring plan for its operations.
So what: The company announced that it was closing its Frankfurt manufacturing facilities due to weakening market conditions in Europe and in order to cut costs and focus on sustainable market opportunities. In addition, it will idle four production lines at its manufacturing center in Malaysia next month.
Now what: First Solar is also planning to reduce personnel by cutting 2,000 positions, what amounts to a 30% reduction of its workforce. The company expects to reduce costs by $30 million-$60 million this year and $100 million-$120 million annually from here on out. Average manufacturing costs are supposed to improve to $0.70-$0.72 per watt this year, below the company's previous expectations of $0.74. First Solar has recognized that the solar market has "fundamentally changed," and is "quickly adapting" its market approach in response.
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