Jefferies Analyst Defends First Solar (FSLR) Following Negative Barrons Article

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08:59:07 pm on August 17, 2009

Over the weekend, Barron’s wrote up a piece on First Solar (FSLR) highlighting the company’s negative free cash flow and goes so far as to say the revenue beat was a figment of bookkeeping for a project in Berlin in which the company recognized $84 in revenue.  The author also questions the OptiSolar transaction and the way the company booked the value of a PG&E contract.  All in all, it didn’t help the stock much today which was off more than 5%, taking out a key area of support at the 140 level in the process. The move could very well set up a test of the 100 level in the coming weeks.  I did close out half of my FSLR position at a loss today based on the technical breach and may unload the rest if it can’t turn it around in a hurry.

Jefferies analyst Paul Clegg was out disputing the article today saying he knows of “no more appropriate accounting methodology than consolidation,” as First solar owns no equity interest in the project (speaking about the Berlin project).  In response to the OptiSolar questions he said “either way, we believe the impact from a cash standpoint is still nil.”

He still rates the stock a Buy and maintains his $200 price target. 

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