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First Solar (FSLR) Reports Earnings in Q2, Raises '17 Outlook

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First Solar Inc. (FSLR - Free Report) reported second-quarter 2017 earnings of 64 cents a share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate was pegged at a loss of 4 cents. The reported number declined 26.4% from the prior-year figure of 87 cents.


First Solar’s revenues of $623.3 million in the quarter surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $572 million by 16.4%. However, revenues declined 38.7% from the year-ago figure of $1,016.4 million, primarily due to lower systems sales, partially offset by higher third-party module sales.

Operational Highlights

Gross profit in the reported quarter was $110.9 million, down from $182.1 million a year ago.

Total operating expenses contracted 46.8% to $97 million due to lower research and development, selling, general and administrative expenses and restructuring and asset impairments expenses.

Operating income during the quarter was $13.9 million versus loss of $0.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

First Solar, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

First Solar, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | First Solar, Inc. Quote

Financial Performance

First Solar had $1,509.5 million of cash and cash equivalents as of Jun 30, up from $1,347.2 million at the end of 2016.

Long-term debt was $307.5 million at the end of the quarter compared with $160.4 million as of Dec 31, 2016.

2017 Guidance

First Solar raised its revenue guidance to the band of $3.0–$3.1 billion from $2.85–$2.95 billion. It has also lifted the gross margin guidance in the band of 17%–18% (12.5%–14.5% guided earlier). Furthermore, the company increased the operating income guidance in the range of $170–$220 million compared with the previous guidance of $40–$80 million.

Meanwhile, First Solar  raised its operating cash flow guidance to $850–$950 million compared with $350–$450 million, predicted earlier.

Currently, the company expects its panel shipment to lie in between 2.6−2.7 gigawatts (GW) band compared with the prior guidance of 2.4−2.6 GW.

Full-year earnings are also anticipated in the range of $2.00−$2.50 per share compared with the prior guidance of 25−75 cents.

Quarterly Results at 8point3 Energy

8point3 Energy Partners LP , a limited partnership formed by First Solar and SunPower Corp. (SPWR - Free Report) , reported earnings of 12 cents per share in second-quarter fiscal 2017 (ended May 31, 2017) missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 16 cents by 25%. Earnings declined 76% from 50 cents in the year-ago period.

An Upcoming Peer Release

Canadian Solar, Inc. (CSIQ - Free Report) is expected to release second-quarter 2017 results on Aug 14. The company carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Zacks Rank

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

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