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First Solar (FSLR) Q4 Earnings Lag Estimates, Sales Down Y/Y

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First Solar Inc. (FSLR - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings of $1.08 per share, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.27 by 15%.

Including one-time litigation losses, the company reported GAAP earnings of $1.09 per share against the GAAP loss of 56 cents recorded in the prior-year quarter.

For 2020, the company reported adjusted earnings of $3.73 per share, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.94.

Sales

First Solar’s sales of $609.2 million in the reported quarter missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $720 million by 15.4%. Moreover, the top line plunged a massive 56.5% from the year-ago quarter’s $1,399.4 million.

For 2020, the company recorded revenues of $2.71 billion, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.83 billion by 4.2%. Moreover, the full-year top line declined 11.4% from the year-ago quarter figure of $3.06 billion.

Operational Highlights

In the fourth quarter, gross profit totaled $159.9 million compared with $333.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

Total operating expenses declined a massive 77.4% to $102.1 million primarily due to the absence of any litigation losses.

Consequently, the company reported an operating income of $57.8 million at the end of fourth-quarter 2020 against the operating loss of $117.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

First Solar, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Financial Performance

First Solar had $1.23 billion of cash and cash equivalents as of Dec 31, 2020, down from $1.35 billion as of Dec 31, 2019.

Long-term debt totaled $237.7 million at the end of 2020 compared with $454.2 million as of Dec 31, 2019.

2021 Guidance

The company currently expects to report earnings of $4.05-$4.75 per share on sales of $2.85-$3.0 billion in 2021.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 earnings, pegged at $3.57 per share, lies below the company’s projected range. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 sales, pegged at $3.08 billion, lies above the guided range.

Moreover, the company expects to incur operating expenses of $285-$300 million.

Meanwhile, First Solar forecasts shipments of 7.8-8.0 gigawatts.

Zacks Rank

First Solar currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Recent Solar Releases

Enphase Energy (ENPH - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings of 51 cents per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 40 cents by 27.5%.

SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings of 98 cents per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 87 cents by 12.6%.

SunRun Inc. (RUN - Free Report) incurred fourth-quarter 2020 loss of 6 cents per share against the Zacks Consensus Estimate of earnings of 7 cents.

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