First Solar Inc. reported a first-quarter loss of $62.3 million, or 62 cents a share, compared with a profit of $112 million, or $1.10 a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales fell to $469.2 million from $950 million. The FactSet consensus was for a per-share loss of 29 cents and sales of $620 million. The solar power systems company said sales were impacted by retaining projects which would otherwise have generated revenue in anticipation of the previously-announced plans to pursue a YieldCo, which is a joint venture with SunPower Corp. , called 8point3 Energy Partners LP, that the companies plan to take public. "As anticipated, the first quarter was a transitional period as we executed on our plans to form 8point3 Energy Partners," said First Solar Chief Executive Jim Hughes. For the second quarter, the company expects sales of $750 million to $850 million and earnings per share of 45 cents to 55 cents, compared with the FactSet consensus of $755 million and 24 cents, respectively. The stock remains halted news dissemination. It has run up 34% year to date through Thursday's close, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.3%.
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