Why Enphase Energy Looks Ready for Blast-Off

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Enphase Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: ENPH) has seen a very positive reaction after the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report. While revenues and margins rose, analysts are jumping back in support of Enphase. Its shares have now hit a 52-week high, and the company makes and sells microinverter systems for residential and commercial markets.

What matters here is not just that Enphase is close to its 52-week highs again. This stock used to be exponentially higher, and the research firms covering it after a recent $20 million capital raise see even further upside ahead.

Fourth-quarter revenue was up 3% sequentially to $79.7 million. The company shipped 221 megawatts DC and 755,000 microinverters. And the company’s non-GAAP gross margin rose by 240 basis points to 24.2%.

Enphase noted that its gains were primarily due to the IQ 6 transition in North America, supply chain optimization and pricing management. While the gains were seen in revenues, operating expenses rose by 6% to $18 million. Enphase said that this was due to investments in its IQ 8 platform development.

The company further said that it is still well on track toward achieving its internal targets by the end of 2018. Enphase is targeting 30% gross margin, 20% operating expenses and 10% operating income by the fourth quarter of 2018.

Roth Capital Partners was one of the firms issuing positive research on Enphase after earnings. It raised its rating to Buy from Neutral, and the new price target is $4.50. Craig Hallum reiterated its Buy rating, and the firm raised its price target to $3.50 from $2.25.

Oppenheimer has an Outperform rating on Enphase, but the firm raised its target price to $4.00 from $2.00. The firm sees its results and stronger gross margin supporting a fortified balance sheet. The company said in its report that its 30-20-10 metrics guidance suggests continued strong price and margin performance being driven by cost-effective technology transition and price discipline. It further said:

With its recent capital raise, we believe Enphase is well positioned to reach sustainable profitability, especially given the limited progress being made by Asian competitors. We are also encouraged by the company’s growing list of partners for AC modules which we believe makes its sales effort more resilient both in terms of customer stickiness and pricing.

The company said of its reports:

We are very pleased to report non-GAAP operating income of $1.3 million and net income of $683,000, which resulted in basic and diluted earnings per share of $0.01. This return to profitability represents a significant milestone for the company… We exited the quarter with approximately $29.1 million in cash. Inventory was $26 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $25.3 million in the third quarter, and down from $32 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

While Enphase shares are close to hitting 52-week highs, this stock traded between $10 and $15 for many months from 2014 and 2015.

Enphase shares were last seen up 13% at $3.16, and that was after a 4% gain to $2.79 on Tuesday. Enphase has a 52-week range of $0.65 to $3.45.