SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY.DL) missed their EPS guidance and for some reason, Wall Street decided to throw a fit and send shares tanking after the news. Looking at the rest of the numbers, Motley Fool analysts Tyler Crowe and Taylor Muckerman struggled to find out why Wall Street was so upset, and even contemplated whether they should talk about it on this weeks episode of Industry Focus or buy shares themselves.
Tune in to the video below to find out why Taylor and Tyler are fans of the rest of the numbers at SolarCity, why Tyler is cooking up a conspiracy theory about ExxonMobil's (NYSE:XOM) glaring absence from Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) holdings disclosure, and two of the silliest things they have both read in the world of energy this past week.
A full transcript follows the video.
Taylor Muckerman: It's Thursday at Fool HQ. That means it's time for energy Industry Focus. We are not doing video today. Apparently ...
Tyler Crowe: I think a lot of people were sick of seeing our ugly mugs!
Muckerman: We got some complaints!
Crowe: Too many Twitter complaints! "We hate seeing you guys' faces. Can we just listen to your voices?" so we've gone radio now. Gone old school.
Muckerman: We're going to see how this works for at least a week.
Let's dive right in. We had SolarCity earnings after hours yesterday; stock apparently is down double-digit percentages.
Crowe: Yes, it dropped as low as 10% when I was checking this morning, before we went on air. I am absolutely baffled by this one; I don't know about your first reaction to it.
I guess the reason that so many people are down on the stock is because they posted a loss when there were some estimates that the loss wouldn't be as much as it was. Classic Wall Street overreaction; they missed by about 6-7 cents on their EPS guidance and everybody ...
Muckerman: Net revenue?
Muckerman: So the top line's growing.
Crowe: The top line's growing. Top line's great. Bottom line didn't quite meet it, so everybody's overreacting, "Oh, these guys are never going to be able to make a sale."
But if you look behind the numbers, it baffles me what's going on here. Over the past five years, they're growing at a 100% compounded annual growth rate. They've increased their market share to 39% in residential installations, which is more than the next 70 companies combined, in the entire space.
They've cut their cost per watt for installation, sales, and marketing by 40%, and they're ramping up their sales force like crazy, which is one of the big reasons that we saw the slight miss. Their sales and marketing costs have doubled compared to year over year numbers.
Just as a quick anecdotal on that, I do have a friend who works in sales at SolarCity and he said, "We are hiring people left and right, and we cannot seem to sell enough of these things right now." Sales are going absolutely through the roof, and they are hungry to build more.
When I see that, and know that, with this company being such a cash-heavy up front ...
Muckerman: Yes, they're providing everything. They're providing all the leasing and all that.
Crowe: All the installation, everything like that.
With it being so cash-heavy up front, and sales accelerating, it shouldn't be a surprise to anybody that they're posting losses. It's the fact that they're basically buying a 20- to possibly 30-year income stream. With that, yes you're going to see losses early, but once that platform is built out, that's 30 years of revenue.
Muckerman: Yes. There's going to be a tipping point when they reach a certain level of customer base where you're looking at -- I guess they've been around for a couple years now, so their earliest clients are under 20 years, most likely -- but there's going to be a point where they reach net profit and they never look back, in my mind, when they get these 20-30 year contracts, like you mentioned.
The demand is so high that they've actually increased the interest rates they're charging on their leases in California from around 4.0-4.5% to 4.5-5.5%, so they're seeing demand enough to where they can start raising interest rates already on their leasing program.
I think one of the other reasons why they missed is because of the commercial side. They were expecting 44 megawatts of deployment in the fourth quarter, only got 28 -- and only 2 of that was canceled; the rest of it has already been finished in 2015 or will be finished before the second half of 2015.
I agree on the overreaction. I look at this company and just scratch my head as to how Wall Street can sell off repeatedly by these slight misses, because if you look at their long-term guidance on lowering their cost per watt, getting a million customers by 2018, a few other long, long-term goals out to 2002, they are well ahead of the curve.
They could slow growth overall and still reach these goals, so there's a lot of wiggle room built in here. I'm a shareholder. Unfortunately I can't buy this dip, since we're talking about it today!
Crowe: Yes, I'm actually in the same position too! I was like, "You know ..."
Muckerman: "Should we talk about it?"
Crowe: "Can we talk about this, or should we buy it and then be like, 'Hey guess what, suckers? We bought while you guys were all worrying about something else!'"
Muckerman: We're here for you! Maybe it will still be down in a couple days and we can take advantage of it.
Crowe: If they keep growing like this, yes, I'll buy it. I'll buy it next week, I'm sure. It won't be a problem anyway.
Muckerman: This is a recommendation in Stock Advisor Canada. It's a recommendation in at least one or two services in the U.S.
Crowe: Got to be.
Muckerman: This is something that I am going to hold, with my head held high! On to the next story; pretty big, right?
Crowe: Yes. The next story we have, which is for some reason making a ton of people react, is the fact that on Berkshire Hathaway's most recent financial disclosings, there was one name that was auspiciously missing, and that was ExxonMobil, which was a position that the company did less than a year ago; about a $3.7 billion position that just happened to be missing from its disclosure.
There are a lot of people that are looking at it and going, "Oh, he's moving on to new things. He's looking for better things." But Berkshire Hathaway hasn't said anything about selling a $4 billion position -- which is kind of a big deal. If you're going to sell $4 billion worth of a company, you're going to come out and say why.
I have a conspiracy theory.
Muckerman: Lay it on us!
Crowe: The conspiracy theory is that Berkshire Hathaway has not sold ExxonMobil, but is in fact actually building their position.
The reason that I'm saying that is because we saw this exact same thing last quarter. Deere & Company (NYSE:DE), the manufacturer of that wonderful John Deer tractor, was missing from the 13F last quarter.
Everybody said, "Oh, he sold out of John Deere. He's moving on to other things. Agriculture is not growing," yadda, yadda, yadda.
Muckerman: At the moment.
Crowe: Yes. There were 15 knee-jerk reactions as to why it's not going to happen and that he's moving on to other things. Then this quarter rolls around and there's an amended 13F disclosure on his holdings that shows that he doubled his position in John Deere.
Until I hear from the words of Berkshire Hathaway that they have absolutely sold this position, and why they have sold it, I am not sold on the idea that it is no longer part of the Berkshire Hathaway holdings.
Muckerman: Let's also think about him moving on to different things. Is $4 billion what he really needs to move on to different things?
Crowe: He's got $60 billion in cash sitting on the books!
Muckerman: That's right.
Crowe: What do you need $4 billion for?
Muckerman: If he did sell, the only reason I could see is tax harvesting. This is the kind of investment that Warren Buffett is going to hold through this downturn. He's not a short-term investor by any stretch of the imagination, and you're likely seeing a short-term low in Exxon, at least in the last couple months.
It makes no sense to me, knowing Buffett the way that The Motley Fool thinks it does, and has shown that it does in the past. This would be an outrageous move on his part, and one that a lot of people here would question.
Crowe: Yes, and it would seem even more strange, considering that sold out of ExxonMobil -- which, for an oil company in general is not completely levered to oil prices like a lot of the other guys; over the past six months, where we've seen oil prices drop by 50%, they've only been down 8-10% at most -- while at the same time added to his position in Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU), the Canadian oil sands producer ...
Muckerman: Which is something I don't disagree with there, either.
Crowe: Yes. But, as a company, is much more levered to oil prices than ExxonMobil.
Crowe: To say that he sold out of ExxonMobil, only to acquire Suncor Energy, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, so I am holding to my conspiracy theory that they have not sold out, until I hear from the horse's mouth that this is no longer part of Berkshire Hathaway.
Muckerman: Agreed. You look at Suncor; I think that's probably the best oil producer in Canada, but at the same time oil sands just aren't there yet, especially with oil the way it is. Oil sands are one of the final frontiers of high-priced oil production.
Granted, Suncor does sell it at international prices. Over 90% of its oil sold at international prices, compared to peers which are suffering with the Canadian Select price. But I'd scratch my head if he actually did sell out of this Exxon position.
Crowe: Yes, another one of those head-scratchers.
But on the head-scratcher of the day, we see a ton of crazy, crazy media when it comes to oil prices and everybody freaking out at this level. I've got to really give a tip of the cap today to Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs for some great over-the-top advice.
What they said is, in an article, they wanted to give the secret as to why we have seen oil prices drop over the past six months, and give a definitive conclusion. Using a highly technical analysis, using what they called a "vector auto regression with sine restrictions ..."
Crowe: Ooh, that sounds really, really nice! What they concluded over the past six months, is that the oil market is dictated by supply and demand, and that it's currently oversupplied.
Muckerman: Never heard of that before.
Crowe: Yes. They brought in the best and the brightest, over at Goldman Sachs, to do this gigantic statistical model. It probably took a whole bunch of statisticians and MBAs, paid a ton of money for it.
Muckerman: A few hundred thousand dollars of man hours.
Crowe: For an Econ 101 lesson. Congratulations, Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs; you get the Overkill Analysis Award for the day.
Muckerman: Speaking of analysis, you reminded me of an article I came across the other day from USA Today. It's an opinion piece. Questionable things in a couple different places in the article, but I think the closing paragraph really summed it up for me. The last sentence, "But I look for oil prices to stay in the range of $50-100 a barrel for a decade or more."
Crowe: $50-100. That's a pretty big difference. Great job! Great job, whoever wrote that. Congratulations, you really helped us out!
Muckerman: Hey, he's trying to be accurate, and I think he's probably going to be one of the most accurate prognosticators out there, because a lot of people are saying $20, $120 -- OPEC said $200 -- and this guy says $50-100, which is a range that it's predominantly been in for the last 5-10 years.
Crowe: You are hearing it first, listeners, here from The Motley Fool. Within the next 10 years, oil prices will be within the range of $10-200, guaranteed.
Muckerman: Okay, we're signing off! That's all we have today. Berkshire -- we'll continue to follow that story because it'll be interesting to see how that plays out. SolarCity -- Fools, don't believe the dip. Buy the dip if you want to get into solar.
That's it for Industry Focus in energy. Tyler Crowe, I'm Taylor Muckerman. Fool on!
Taylor Muckerman owns shares of SolarCity. Tyler Crowe owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and SolarCity. The Motley Fool recommends Berkshire Hathaway, Goldman Sachs, and SolarCity. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and SolarCity. 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.