First Solar Misses Where it Counts

First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR  ) reported earnings on May 6. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), First Solar beat expectations on revenues and missed estimates on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue increased significantly. Non-GAAP earnings per share grew. GAAP earnings per share grew.

Margins increased across the board.

Revenue details
First Solar chalked up revenue of $755.2 million. The 20 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ wanted to see a top line of $726.0 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 52% higher than the prior-year quarter's $497.1 million.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.69. The 19 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.75 per share. Non-GAAP EPS were $0.69 for Q1 against -$0.08 per share for the prior-year quarter. GAAP EPS were $0.66 for Q1 compared to -$5.20 per share for the prior-year quarter.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 22.4%, 700 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 8.4%, much better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 7.8%, much better than the prior-year quarter. (Margins calculated in GAAP terms.)

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $937.5 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.07.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $3.84 billion. The average EPS estimate is $4.24.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a two-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 3,148 members out of 3,897 rating the stock outperform, and 749 members rating it underperform. Among 588 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 402 give First Solar a green thumbs-up, and 186 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on First Solar is hold, with an average price target of $26.56.

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Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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