California Project Lifts First Solar 1Q Net Income

NEW YORK (AP) -

First Solar, the largest U.S. solar company, said Tuesday its net income nearly doubled in the first quarter after it started receiving revenue from a project in California.

Its shares rose $2.77, or 4.1 percent, to $70.22 in after-hours trading.

First Solar is now getting revenue from the Campo Verde project in Imperial County. It started construction on Campo Verde in December 2012, and it sold the project to a unit of Southern Co. in April 2013 but signed a 10-year maintenance agreement. The Tempe, Arizona, company also said sales improved, costs decreased, and charges related to restructuring and impairment shrank.

First Solar Inc. earned $112 million, or $1.10 per share, in the latest quarter. That’s up from $59.1 million, or 66 cents per share, one year earlier. Its revenue climbed 26 percent, to $950.2 million from $755.2 million.

FactSet says analysts expected income of 52 cents per share and $836.9 million in revenue.

First Solar is now forecasting net income of $2.40 to $2.80 per share in 2014, compared to its previous estimate of $2.20 to $2.60 per share.

Analysts were calling for $2.54 per share, on average.