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First Solar Shares Rise After Commerce Dept. Decision

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 3:13pm

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of First Solar rose Wednesday as the Commerce Department clamped down on Chinese solar equipment companies by imposing preliminary anti-subsidy tariffs.

First Solar is one of the U.S.-based solar companies that stands to gain from such a decision. First Solar Inc. is based in Tempe, Arizona.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced on Tuesday that it is imposing preliminary anti-subsidy tariffs of 18.56 percent to 35.21 percent on Chinese solar panel makers, effective immediately. The decision takes into account solar panels that include solar cells produced outside China. Joseph Fong of Jefferies said in a client note that Chinese solar panel makers previously avoided paying duties by sourcing solar cells from Taiwan.

The Commerce Department is also expected to announce tighter anti-dumping tariffs next month.

Fong said that the preliminary anti-subsidy tariffs will likely result in higher module prices in the U.S., "benefiting domestic manufacturers at the expense of end consumers."

Chinese solar panel maker Trina Solar Ltd. said Wednesday that it was disappointed by the Commerce Department's decision but that it believes it will continue to have a profitable business in the U.S. and serve customers in the region. And with demand for solar panels in the U.S. easing, Chinese solar companies may not be that hard hit by the Commerce Department's decision. Trina Solar said that it is seeing growth specifically in countries such as China and Japan.

First Solar's stock gained $2.14, or 3.4 percent, to $65.07 in morning trading. Tina Solar's U.S. shares dropped 39 cents, or 3 percent, to $12.58.

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