Less than 10 days before the company is due to release first-quarter results, Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) on Wednesday issued “selective” preliminary results for the quarter. Exactly what the company had to gain is a little unclear.
When Canadian Solar last reported earnings in early March, the company forecast shipments of 470 to 490 megawatts of solar modules, for total revenue in the range of $415 million to $430 million and gross margins of 14% to 16%. Now the company has said it would ship 490 to 500 megawatts of solar modules and that revenue would rise to a new range of $460 million to $470 million, even though gross margins have been trimmed a little to a new range of 14% to 15%.
That looks like an improvement until one recalls that the March consensus estimate for first-quarter revenues came to $517.78 million. In March, the company’s stock had appreciated by more than 1,000% in the past 12 months. For the 12 months through Tuesday, the stock was up about 400%, still a nosebleed level, but off 21% year-to-date.
When trading opened Wednesday, Canadian Solar’s shares were up about 4.5% and climbed to a gain of about 7% before turning to a loss of about 3%. In the noon hour, it was trading up 1.3%, at $27.33 in a 52-week range of $5.18 to $44.50.
Canadian Solar was probably hoping that the preliminary announcement would recapture some of the 30% of its share value that it lost since reporting fourth-quarter results in early March. The finesse seems to have mostly failed.