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

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First Solar Inc. (FSLR - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of $2.02 per share, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.79 by 27.6%.

Including one-time litigation losses, the company reported GAAP loss of 56 cents per share against earnings of 50 cents recorded in the prior-year quarter.

For 2019, the company reported adjusted earnings of $1.48 compared with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.45 per share.

First Solar, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

First Solar, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

First Solar, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | First Solar, Inc. Quote

Sales

First Solar’s sales of $1,399.4 million in the reported quarter missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,759.7 million by 20.5%. However, the top line improved a massive 102.4% from the year-ago quarter’s $691.2 million.

For 2019, the company recorded revenues of $3.06 billion, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.44 billion by 11%. However, the full-year top line improved 36.5% from the year-ago quarter figure of $2.24 billion.

Operational Highlights

In the fourth quarter, gross profit totaled $333.6 million compared with $98.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

Total operating expenses surged a massive 417.1% to $451.4 million primarily due to litigation losses worth $363 million.

Consequently, the company incurred operating loss of $117.9 million at the end of fourth-quarter 2019 against operating income of $11 million in the year-ago quarter.

Financial Performance

First Solar had $1.35 billion million of cash and cash equivalents as of Dec 31, 2019, down from $1.40 billion as of Dec 31, 2018.

Long-term debt totaled $454.2 million at the end of 2019 compared with $461.2 million as of Dec 31, 2018.

2020 Guidance

The company currently expects to record earnings in the range of $3.25-$3.75 per share on sales of $2.7-$2.9 billion in 2020. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 earnings, pegged at $3.63, lies above the midpoint of the company’s projected range. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2020 sales, pegged at $3.38 billion, lies above the guided range.

Moreover, the company expects to incur operating expenses in the range of $340-$360 million while gross margin is projected in the band of 26-27%.
Meanwhile, First Solar forecasts shipment to remain in the band of 5.8-6.0 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, Inc. (ENPH - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of 39 cents per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 33 cents by 18.2%.

SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of $1.65 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.30 by 26.9%.

Upcoming Solar Releases

Sunrun (RUN - Free Report) is set to release fourth-quarter results on Feb 27.

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