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First Solar’s Profit, Sales Beat Estimates; Shares Rise

First Solar, Walton FamilyFirst Solar, Walton Family
A worker installs a photovoltaic panel at a First Solar site in California. First Solar’s early investors include members of the ultrawealthy Walton familyPhotograph by Sam Hodgson—Bloomberg/Getty Images

First Solar, the largest U.S. solar equipment manufacturer, reported better-than-expected profit and sales due to higher demand for its modules and sale of stake in its Kingbird project.

The company’s shares were up 3.1% at $50.80 in extended trading on Wednesday.

8point3 Energy Partners, a joint venture formed by SunPower (SPWR) and First Solar (FSLR), said in April it acquired an interest in the 40 MW Kingbird project from First Solar.

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First Solar raised the lower-end of its full-year gross margin forecast to a range of 18.5% from 18%, keeping the upper-end unchanged at 19%.

Excluding items, the company said it expects to earn between $4.20-$4.50 per share for 2016. The midpoint of the range was well above analysts’ average estimate of $4.25, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

First Solar’s net income fell to $13.41 million, or 13 cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30 from $93.89 million, or 92 cents per share, a year earlier.

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The drop in net income was due to a restructuring charge of $86 million, primarily related to the decision to end production of the TetraSun crystalline silicon product.

Excluding items, it earned 87 cents per share, well above analysts’ average estimate of 54 cents.

Revenue rose 4.3% to $934.38 million, also beating analysts’ estimate of $862.68 million.