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First Bancorp Just Beat Earnings Expectations: Here's What Analysts Think Will Happen Next

Simply Wall St

A week ago, First Bancorp (NASDAQ:FBNC) came out with a strong set of quarterly numbers that could potentially lead to a re-rate of the stock. It was overall a positive result, with revenues beating expectations by 5.9% to hit US$71m. First Bancorp also reported a statutory profit of US$0.56, which was an impressive 96% above what the analysts had forecast. This is an important time for investors, as they can track a company's performance in its report, look at what experts are forecasting for next year, and see if there has been any change to expectations for the business. So we gathered the latest post-earnings forecasts to see what estimates suggest is in store for next year.

View our latest analysis for First Bancorp

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Taking into account the latest results, the current consensus from First Bancorp's five analysts is for revenues of US$278.1m in 2020, which would reflect a modest 7.3% increase on its sales over the past 12 months. Statutory earnings per share are forecast to sink 19% to US$2.21 in the same period. Before this earnings report, the analysts had been forecasting revenues of US$274.0m and earnings per share (EPS) of US$1.87 in 2020. Although the revenue estimates have not really changed, we can see there's been a decent improvement in earnings per share expectations, suggesting that the analysts have become more bullish after the latest result.

The consensus price target was unchanged at US$27.50, implying that the improved earnings outlook is not expected to have a long term impact on value creation for shareholders. That's not the only conclusion we can draw from this data however, as some investors also like to consider the spread in estimates when evaluating analyst price targets. The most optimistic First Bancorp analyst has a price target of US$32.00 per share, while the most pessimistic values it at US$25.00. This is a very narrow spread of estimates, implying either that First Bancorp is an easy company to value, or - more likely - the analysts are relying heavily on some key assumptions.

Looking at the bigger picture now, one of the ways we can make sense of these forecasts is to see how they measure up against both past performance and industry growth estimates. We would highlight that First Bancorp's revenue growth is expected to slow, with forecast 7.3% increase next year well below the historical 17%p.a. growth over the last five years. Juxtapose this against the other companies in the industry with analyst coverage, which are forecast to grow their revenues (in aggregate) 2.0% next year. So it's pretty clear that, while First Bancorp's revenue growth is expected to slow, it's still expected to grow faster than the industry itself.

The Bottom Line

The most important thing here is that the analysts upgraded their earnings per share estimates, suggesting that there has been a clear increase in optimism towards First Bancorp following these results. Happily, there were no major changes to revenue forecasts, with the business still expected to grow faster than the wider industry. The consensus price target held steady at US$27.50, with the latest estimates not enough to have an impact on their price targets.

Keeping that in mind, we still think that the longer term trajectory of the business is much more important for investors to consider. We have forecasts for First Bancorp going out to 2024, and you can see them free on our platform here.

You should always think about risks though. Case in point, we've spotted 2 warning signs for First Bancorp you should be aware of, and 1 of them can't be ignored.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.