After looking back over an analyst call on First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), there is an interesting take. We would caution that the bullish case may seem too good to be true. We would also note that the call is after a 90% decline in the value of First Solar stock.
Credit Suisse reiterated a Neutral rating and maintained a $20 price target objective. Nothing abnormal, right? Well, here is what Credit Suisse gave as its Bull Case…
Its quarterly filing now discloses the actual profits and losses in the component and systems divisions, which were previously zeroed out. The analyst team revised its 2012 expectation and its new model has a segment build projection through 2014.
One word of caution is worth noting: “There is no change in our view that at a module level, First Solar’s modules are not cost competitive with c-Si modules. However, we do credit FSLR for the 1GW of new bookings in 2012 that company has noted is largely not in the backlog, and also recognize the fact that the company has booked another 350MW AC of two large systems projects in Australia and California. Continued competitive project wins are critical for the stock to sustain upward momentum following the post earnings run-up.”
The bull case calls for $28 to $30 as “the fact that FSLR is not competitive in the third party module business is becoming moot because several standalone module makers are having significant balance sheet issues due to excessive leverage.” Credit Suisse now revised its targets for 2012 and 2013 earnings per share $4.40 and $3.27, respectively, from $4.24 and $5.90 per share, respectively.
First Solar shares are up almost 5% at $20.01 and the volume is already at 5.6 million shares versus an average daily volume of 6.1 million shares. Be advised that this is the first day that First Solar’s stock has been above $20 per share going back to April 23, 2012 when the stock was in free-fall.
JON C. OGG