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.
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 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.
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 (CAFD - Free Report) , 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).
First Solar currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
The Hottest Tech Mega-Trend of All
Last year, it generated $8 billion in global revenues. By 2020, it's predicted to blast through the roof to $47 billion. Famed investor Mark Cuban says it will produce "the world's first trillionaires," but that should still leave plenty of money for regular investors who make the right trades early. See Zacks' 3 Best Stocks to Play This Trend >>