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First Solar 3Q profit more than doubles, stock up

The Associated Press

NEWS: First Solar Inc. shares jumped in after-hours trading Thursday, after the solar company said its third-quarter net income more than doubled and raised its profit outlook for the year.

DETAILS: First Solar sold more solar modules to some customers and the sale of a solar project in Canada.

NUMBERS: Net income rose to $195 million, or $1.94 per share, in the quarter that ended on Sept. 30, up from $88 million, or $1 per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Excluding charges related to the pending sale of an Arizona facility, it reported earnings of $2.28 per share. Analysts expected earnings of $1.13 per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 51 percent, to $1.27 billion from $839 million. That's above the $1.04 billion analysts expected.

FUTURE: For the full year, First Solar now expects earnings between $4.25 per share and $4.50 per share. That's up from its previous forecast of $3.75 per share and $4.25 per share. Analysts expect earnings of $3.76 per share in 2013.

But the company cut its revenue expectations for the year, because revenue from one of its projects might be recognized in 2014. It now expects revenue between $3.4 billion and $3.6 billion, down from its prior forecast of $3.6 billion to $3.8 billion. Analysts expect revenue of $3.65 billion.

DEAL ANNOUNCED: First Solar also announced Thursday that it is selling a 250-megawatt solar project in Nevada to NextEra Energy Inc. The deal is expected to close in early 2014. First Solar did not disclose financial details.

STOCK: Up $3.69, or 7.3 percent, to $54 in after-hours trading Thursday. Shares closed down $1.09, or 2.1 percent, to $50.31 during normal trading hours.