How First Solar Shattered Bottom-Line Expectations

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When First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) released its most recent quarterly earnings report after the markets closed on Thursday, the company said that it had $0.64 in earnings per share (EPS) and $623.3 million in revenue. Consensus estimates had called for a loss of $0.04 per share and revenue of $535.5 million. The second quarter of last year reportedly had EPS of had $0.25 and $1.0 billion in revenue.

Almost in response to this report, First Solar raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the full year. Effectively, the company said that it raised guidance as a result of improved visibility into the sale of systems projects, a discrete tax benefit in the second quarter and continuing operational improvements.

First Solar’s outlook for 2017 is currently $2.00 to $2.50 in EPS (up from the previous range of $0.25 to $0.75) and $3.0 billion to $3.1 billion in revenue. Consensus estimates call for EPS of $0.61 and $2.9 billion in revenue.

First Solar’s cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaled $2.2 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $2.0 billion at the end of the previous fiscal year.

Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar, commented:

We executed well in the second quarter with solid non-GAAP earnings of $0.64, record quarterly shipments of nearly 900MWdc and bookings of 1.5GWdc since our last earnings call. We are encouraged by the continuing strong demand for our Series 4 product and are focused on meeting our customers’ current needs. At the same time, our efforts to ensure the manufacturing and market readiness of Series 6 remains our highest priority. With the first Series 6 equipment being installed at our Ohio factory, and an increasing number of mid-to-late stage Series 6 bookings opportunities, we are pleased with our progress thus far.

Shares of First Solar traded up about 7.6% early Friday to $48.20. The consensus analyst price target is $43.95 and the 52-week trading range is $25.56 to $49.50.