First Solar: Are Their Customers Piling Up Inventory?

ThinkEquity’s Jonathan Hoopes this morning made an aggressive call on First Solar (FSLR), asserting that a “high-level inventory analysis” of six of the company’s major customers lead him to conclude that there maybe be substantial numbers of First Solar panels sitting in customer warehouses. And he says that they aren’t likely to move out soon, “given weakening economies, lower natural gas prices, higher interest rates and tougher underwriting requirements.”

Hoopes contends that global solar demand headwinds are unlikely to subside for at least the next few quarters. “Take-or-pay contracts are only as good as the counter-party’s willingness and ability to do either,” he notes. Hoopes points out that Q-Cells, on its Dec. 9 conference call, said it will allow a flexible delivery schedule for customers and will also offer discounted prices to help share the burden.”

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