First Solar Inc FSLR
Q4 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 02/26/2013

Operator: Good day, everyone, and welcome to First Solar's Fourth Quarter 2012 Earnings Call. This call is being webcast live on the Investors' section of First Solar's website at At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. As a reminder, today's call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the call over to David Brady, Vice President of Treasury and Investor Relations for First Solar Incorporated. Mr. Brady, you may begin.

David Brady - VP, Treasury and IR: Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us. Today the Company issued a press release announcing its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2012. A copy of the press release and the presentation are available on the Investors' section of First Solar's website at

With me today are Jim Hughes, Chief Executive Officer and Mark Widmar, Chief Financial Officer. Our agenda for the call will be as follows. Jim will provide a review of our progress in 2012 relative to our long-term strategy; and then Mark will review fourth quarter and full year financial results and provide guidance for the first quarter of 2013. We will then open up the call for questions.

Most of the financial numbers reported and discussed on today's call are based on U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, in a few cases where we report non-GAAP measures, we have provided reconciliations to GAAP equivalents at the back of our presentation.

Please note that during the course of this 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 circumstances, 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 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. First Solar assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this call or with respect to the announcements described herein.

It is now my pleasure to introduce Jim Hughes, Chief Executive Officer. Jim?

James A. Hughes - CEO: Thanks, David. Today, we announced another significant milestone for First Solar. A new record for our CdTe cell efficiency at 18.7%. This was set using materials and processes used in a manufacturing environment and confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory or NREL. This breaks our previous record for cell efficiency at 17.3%. This is a tremendous achievement on the part of our technology team led by Raffi Garabedian and validates our continued investment in R&D. Based on this new record we will be updating our efficiency and cost roadmaps in the near future.

Now turning to our 2012 performance. A little over a year ago we took the bold step of announcing the fundamental change to our strategic plan to transition from traditional subsidized markets towards sustainable high growth markets with the fundamental need for energy and higher radiance levels where Solar can compete economically with other existing energy sources. In order to make that transition, we needed to long scale of the business to align production capacity with anticipated demand while we develop sustainable market. Two, reallocate rescources to establish a strong local presence on the ground in each of our target markets. Three; establish relationships with key strategic partners. Four; continue to reduce our operating and system costs to enable competitive solar pricing without subsidies. Five; provide customer-oriented comprehensive solutions that are reliable and seamlessly integrate with the local grid.

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