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First Solar (FSLR) Reports Earnings in Q1, Revenues Beat

Zacks Equity Research

First Solar Inc. FSLR reported first-quarter 2017 earnings of 25 cents a share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate was pegged at a loss of 13 cents. The reported number declined 84.9% from the prior-year figure of $1.66.


First Solar’s revenues of $891.8 million in the quarter surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $699 million by 27.6%. Revenues also grew 1.8% from the year-ago figure of $876.1 million, primarily attributable to the sale of the Moapa project, partially offset by lower third-party module sales.

Operational Highlights

Gross profit in the reported quarter was $84.2 million, down from $277.6 million a year ago.

Total operating expenses contracted 5.6% to $92.2 million due to lower research and development and selling, general and administrative expenses.

Operating loss during the quarter was $8 million, in contrast to income of $179.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

First Solar, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


First Solar, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | First Solar, Inc. Quote

Financial Performance

First Solar had $1,656.2 million of cash and cash equivalents as of Mar 31, 2017, up from $1,347.2 million at 2016-end.

Long-term debt was $265.8 million at the end of the first quarter, compared with $160.4 million as of Dec 31, 2016.

2017 Guidance

First Solar raised its revenue guidance to the band of $2.85–$2.95 billion from $$2.8–$2.9 billion. It has also lifted the gross margin guidance to 12.5–14.5% (11–13% guided earlier). The company reiterated the operating income guidance in the range of $40–$80 million. Meanwhile, the company raised its operating cash flow guidance to $350–$450 million, compared with $250–$350 million predicted earlier.

The company reaffirmed its panel shipment projection at the 2.4−2.6 gigawatts (“GW”) band.

Full-year earnings are now expected in the range of 25−75 cents per share, compared with the prior guidance of a breakeven to 50 cents.

Quarterly Results at 8point3 Energy

8point3 Energy Partners LP CAFD, a limited partnership formed by First Solar and SunPower Corp. SPWR, reported earnings of 3 cents per share in first-quarter fiscal 2017 (ended Feb 28). The Zacks Consensus Estimate was pegged at a loss of 18 cents. Earnings declined 88.9% from 27 cents in the year-ago quarter.

An Upcoming Peer Release

Canadian Solar, Inc. CSIQ is expected to release first-quarter 2017 results on May 10. The company carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Zacks Rank

First Solar presently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can seethe complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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