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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Canadian Solar, SunPower, First Solar, El Paso Electric and Carnival

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – June 28, 2013 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ-Free Report), SunPower Corp. (SPWR-Free Report), First Solar Inc. (FSLR-Free Report), El Paso Electric Co. (EE-Free Report) and Carnival Corp. (CCL-Free Report).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:

CSIQ Partners Samsung, Shares Rise

Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ-Free Report) has entered into a partnership agreement with Samsung Renewable Energy Inc. to build a new manufacturing facility in London, Ontario. The facility will produce solar PV modules and Medium Voltage Power Stations.

The modules produced at the plant will be supplied to Samsung for its Grand Renewable Energy Park in Haldimand County and the Sol-Luce Kingston Solar PV project in Kingston and Loyalist Township.

The construction of Grand Renewable Energy Park is expected to begin in Aug 2013 and that of Sol-Luce Kingston Solar PV project in Kingston and Loyalist Township will begin in 2014. Taken together, these projects will generate 300 megawatt (MW) of renewable energy.

Apart from being used for Samsung’s solar projects, the facility will be used by Canadian Solar for its research and product development work associated with solar energy generation.

This contract comes under the Green Energy Investment Agreement ("GEIA") between Samsung and the Government of Ontario that calls for creating 9,000 renewable energy jobs across the province. During its construction period, the plant will create 200 local manufacturing jobs in 2013.

Recently, Canadian Solar received a contract to construct a 130 MW utility-scale solar power plant for Samsung Renewable Energy. On an annual basis, this plant will produce 165,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year providing power to 13,750 homes. Over the 20-year period, it will wipe out approximately 162,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Canadian Solar caters to a geographically-diverse customer base spread across its key markets in Germany, Spain and the U.S. Emerging market opportunities are also rife in France, the Czech Republic, Italy, South Korea, Canada, Japan and China. The company is focused on expanding its engineering, procurement and construction and solar systems kits business to greater than 40% of revenue in fiscal 2013.
Followed by Siemens in Tillsonburg, CS Wind in Windsor, and SMA in Toronto, CSIQ has become Samsung’s fourth renewable energy manufacturing partner.

Traditionally, solar companies were responsible for producing solar modules and panels. However, the need of the hour calls for more solar projects. Therefore, in order to generate more renewable energy, module manufacturers like Canadian Solar are getting more and more involved in the construction of large-scale solar projects.

In April this year, SunPower Corp. (SPWR-Free Report) commenced the construction of twin solar projects in Yolo County, Calif. The company expects the projects to produce 5.8 MW of emission-free solar power for county facilities. The venture calls for the construction of two systems, one at the corner of West Beamer Street and Cottonwood Street in Woodland and the other at Grassland Regional Park in Davis, Calif. The company expects to wrap up construction by the third quarter.

Recently, The New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission approved a power purchase agreement that clears the way for First Solar Inc. (FSLR-Free Report) to supply 50 MW of solar power for 25 years to El Paso Electric Co. (EE-Free Report).  With this approval First Solar can now initiate the construction of New Mexico's largest solar power plant, Macho Springs, on 500 acres of State Trust Land in Luna County.

These developments have boosted the share prices of these companies. Specifically, the deal with Samsung has led the share price of Canadian Solar to jump 13.1% to $10.10 from its previous day price of $8.93.

Carnival Brings in New CEO

Carnival Corp. (CCL-Free Report) recently announced a massive management shuffle, possibly to fix some persistent operational issues. Per the program, the cruise operator plans to divide the roles of its chairman and chief executive officer (CEO).

While former CEO Micky Arison will only continue as chairman of the board, Arnold W. Donald who has been on Carnival’s board for the past 12 years will take up the mantle of CEO, effective Jul 3.

The decision puts an end to Arison’s 34-year long career as CEO with Carnival.  During his leadership, Carnival was transformed from a privately-held entity to a public company and crowned as the world’s largest cruise operator. However, in his role as chairman, Arison will continue to supervise the operations of the company.

He had also conducted a big-ticket merger with P&O Princess Cruises plc. In a nutshell, under his supervision, Carnival grew from generating $44 million in revenues to a $15 billion company.

However, of late, Carnival’s ships have been facing one accident after another, which sharply lowered its bookings. The negative publicity generated as a result of the mishaps and soft economic conditions have adversely affected bookings.

Even the adoption of a sharp price discounting strategy could not meaningfully trigger bookings; rather it pulled down net revenue yield. Following such issues, Carnival had to lower its fiscal 2013 guidance more than once. In such a scenario, we believe, Carnival had no other option but to make a drastic move, such as the appointment of a new CEO, to turn around the company’s fortunes.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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