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First Solar posts quarterly profit; appoints new CEO

April 27 (Reuters) - Solar panel maker First Solar Inc posted a quarterly profit, compared with a year-earlier loss, helped by higher revenue from the sale of a large California solar power plant to Southern Co.

The company said on Wednesday it appointed Chief Financial Officer Mark Widmar as its chief executive officer.

He will succeed James Hughes, who plans to step down effective June 30.

The solar panel maker reported a net profit of $170.6 million, or $1.66 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of $60.9 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose nearly 81 percent to $848.5 million.

(Reporting By Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)