Shares of inverter manufacturer Enphase Energy Inc (ENPH 3.60%) jumped as much as 19.2% in trading Wednesday after reporting a better than expected first quarter. Shares maintained most of their gains throughout the day and were up 15.3% at 3:20 p.m. EST.
First-quarter revenue rose 28% versus a year ago, to $70.0 million, and gross margin improved 240 basis points to 26.2%. The margin improvement helped net loss improve from $23.3 million a year ago to $5.1 million. On a non-GAAP basis, net loss was $1.3 million, or $0.01 per share, which was much better than the $0.04 loss analysts expected.
The introduction of the IQ 7 microinverter into the U.S. market helped drive growth, and the product will make its way worldwide by the end of the year. Given Enphase Energy's near financial collapse a year ago, traction in the company's new products is really all investors are looking for right now, and the assumption is that losses will subside as revenue and margins improve.
Enphase Energy's comeback is fully under way, and the company may be on its way to profitability in the next quarter. Management's guidance for the second quarter is for $72 million to $80 million in revenue and an increase in gross margin to 26% to 29%. If those results are indicative of what we'll see from the company as the IQ line of products goes worldwide, then long-term profitability may be around the corner -- a very bullish sign for Enphase Energy's investors.