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First Solar Misses Where it Counts

By Seth Jayson – Updated Apr 10, 2017 at 1:23PM

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Just the facts, Fool.

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. 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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