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news digest ♦ Solar


Last but not least, SEMI will develop an outline proposal for creating an entity similar to the World Semiconductor Council (WSC), as well as a draft implementation plan.


William Morin, senior director of government affairs at Applied Materials and one of the white paper’s lead authors states, “The solar energy sector is a $100-billion-plus and growing global business characterised by fierce international competition. So it was probably inevitable that trade conflicts would arise. What should not be inevitable, however, is that these tensions continue to define the global solar landscape. The current path ultimately means the industry, consumers and the environment all lose. With leadership and long-term vision, we can turn this around.”


“An end to global conflict within the PV market is both advantageous and conceivable, and there are a variety of approaches that merit consideration in achieving an industry- driven solution, from the World Semiconductor Council’s model, to broad sectoral agreements in ICT and ’green goods,’ to regional pacts with 21st century standards,” adds Bettina Weiss, vice president for business development at SEMI.


According to the SEMI white paper, multiple avenues for amelioration can be examined including:


U.S-Japan Semiconductor Trade Agreement: Born out of the semiconductor dispute, the creation of the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) produced an elevated dialogue and a pathway forward for the semiconductor industry. Far beyond the scope of the initial U.S.-Japan agreement, this government-industry body was created to promote the semiconductor industry in a global way and to use trade as more than simply a tool for litigation.


Information Technology Agreement (ITA):Initially crafted in 1996, the ITA is a broad sectorial agreement that has allowed an annual increase of more than 10 percent for all ICT products it covers. There are currently 74 ITA participants accounting for about 97 percent of global trade in ICT products and this model is viewed as the standard bearer for plurilateral engagement.


First Solar converts loss to profit in Q4 2012


Despite a turnaround in quarterly profits, reversing the loss of a year ago, the cadmium telluride cell manufacturer’s shares fell 8 percent. This could be after the company remained tight- lipped about an earnings and sales outlook for 2013


CdTe panel manufacturer First Solar has announced financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31st. 2012.


Net sales were a record $1.1 billion in the quarter, an increase of $236 million from the third quarter of 2012 and $415 million from the fourth quarter of 2011. The increase in net sales from the third quarter of 2012 was primarily due to increased revenue recognition for the Topaz project, and an increase in third-party module sales.


The company reported fourth quarter GAAP net income per 102 www.compoundsemiconductor.net March 2013


fully diluted share of $1.74, compared to $1.00 in the third quarter of 2012 and a loss of $4.78 in the fourth quarter of 2011, which included $454 million in pre-tax goodwill impairment and restructuring charges. The fourth quarter of 2012 was impacted by pre-tax charges of $25 million (reducing EPS by $0.30), relating to previously announced restructuring actions.


Net sales for 2012 were $3.4 billion, up 22 percent from 2011.


First Solar reported a full-year GAAP loss of $1.11 per share for 2012, including the impact of pre-tax charges of $529 million (reducing EPS by $5.99), relating to previously announced restructuring actions and costs in excess of normal warranty.


Cash and Marketable Securities at the end of 2012 were $1 billion, up from $717 million at the end of the third quarter of 2012. Cash flows from operations were $328 million in the fourth quarter, and $762 million for the full-year 2012.


Q1 2013 Outlook


The company expects net sales to be in the range $650 to $750 million and a gross margin of 25 to 27 percent. First Solar also an OPEX of $90 to $100 million, an operating income of $70 to $100 million and a tax rate between 11 and 13 percent. EPS of $0.70 to $0.90 per fully diluted share, a cash flow from operations of up to $100 million and a CAPEX of $80 to $100 million are also anticipated.


“Despite a very challenging market environment, we continued to make meaningful progress in all critical value drivers for the company,” says Jim Hughes, CEO of First Solar. “We exceeded our module and balance-of-systems cost reduction targets for 2012, as announced in December 2011, further increased module efficiency and field performance, and achieved several key objectives in our strategy to develop and service new sustainable energy markets. We expect the market will remain turbulent for some time to come, but we have seen


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