Is This Canadian Solar Earnings Report an Inflection Point?

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Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) reported its second-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday. Overall management was content with these results, which again came in above previously issued guidance. The company went on to say that its core solar module and project businesses remain strong, with a healthy balance sheet to support both its near and long-term plans. This positive report makes us wonder whether this is the turning point for Canadian Solar after the stock has been halved so far in 2016.

The company said that it had $0.68 in earnings per share (EPS) on $805.9 million in revenue. Thomson Reuters consensus estimates had called for $0.37 in EPS on revenue of $717.47 million. The same period from last year reportedly had EPS of $0.31 and $636.65 million in revenue.

Total solar module shipments recognized in revenue were 1,290 megawatts (MW), compared to 1,172 MW recognized in revenue in the first quarter of 2016 and second quarter guidance in the range of 1,200 MW to 1,250 MW.

Canadian Solar now owns a portfolio of solar power plants in operation totaling 472 MW peak, with an estimated resale value of roughly $850.0 million and profit margin contribution in the mid-teens.

In terms of guidance for the third quarter, the company expects total solar module shipments to be in the range of 1.2 gigawatts (GW) to 1.3 GW, total revenue to be in the range of $660 million to $710 million, and gross margin to be between 14% and 16%. The consensus estimates are $0.49 in EPS on $788.16 million in revenue for the current quarter.

Dr. Shawn Qu, board chair and chief executive, of Canadian Solar, commented:

Our strategic decision to no longer pursue a YieldCo reflects the market environment and our primary focus on extracting the highest value for shareholders from our operating assets.  As a global leader, we are optimistic and remain favorably positioned moving forward.  Our low cost manufacturing structure, project asset scale, consistent execution and conservative strategy are helping us to mitigate the impact of headwinds facing the broader market, which are realistically never quite as bad as investors may think.

He added:

Our energy business now has approximately 472 MWp of solar power plants in operation, and approximately 900 MWp of additional solar power plants, after adjusting for our effective ownership, that will reach commercial operation in the second half of 2016.  Once completed, we will own approximately 1.37GWp of operating solar power plants, with a resale value of approximately $2.1 billion. We are actively pursuing several regional options to monetize these assets in the second half of 2016 and 2017.

On the books, Canadian Solar’s cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash totaled $991.5 million at the end of the quarter, versus $1.09 billion at the end of the previous year.

Shares of Canadian Solar closed Wednesday down 6.7% at $12.21, with a consensus analyst price target of $24.59 and a 52-week trading range of $12.12 to $29.83. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was up 5.3% at $12.86 in early trading indications Thursday.