First Solar to Sell More Shares

Solar Farm Desert
Solar Farm Desert

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) has stolen half a page from the playbook of Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA). The solar panel maker yesterday filed an automatic shelf registration statement. And while this type of filing does not assure that a securities sale is coming, First Solar immediately issued a press release signaling that it is offering 8,500,000 shares of its common stock in a capital raise. The company currently has about 87.8 million shares outstanding.

What the company neglected to mention was the share price. That is an amateur hour failure that will allow short sellers to beat up on the stock for at least another day before the stock is issued.

First Solar said that the company intends to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions of under-development photovoltaic solar power system projects, investments in photovoltaic solar power system projects that will be jointly developed with strategic partners, and capital expenditures or strategic investments to develop certain business units and expand in new geographies.

What was not specified was any long-term government loan repayments, but we suspect that First Solar has made this filing to allow for the possible repayment of at least part of a U.S. Department of Energy loan, just as we saw with Tesla.

J.P. Morgan Securities, Morgan Stanley, BofA/Merrill Lynch and Citigroup are the joint book-running managers. The book-running managers are listed as Credit Suisse, HSBC, Credit Agricole CIB and Goldman Sachs. First Solar has granted these underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 1,275,000 additional shares of common stock.

Shares of First Solar closed down more than 7% at $52.29 last night, against a 52-week trading range of $12.50 to $59.00. The stock is down another 4.5% shortly after this morning's open, at $49.96.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Alternative Energy, Green Biz, Secondary Offering Tagged: FSLR, TSLA