First Solar Inc.
) reported strong first quarter 2014 earnings of $1.10 per share,
comfortably surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 50 cents
per share by 120.0%.
Quarterly earnings also increased 66.6% from the year-ago profit
of 66 cents per share.
First Solar's revenues for the quarter climbed 25.8% year over
year to $950.2 million. The top-line figure beat the Zacks
Consensus Estimate of $840.0 million by 13.1%.
The significant year-over-year improvement was attributable to a
solid solar project business. The timing of revenue recognition
from First Solar's 139-megawatt (MW) Campo Verde Solar Project,
located in Imperial County, CA boosted first quarter 2014
However, this was partially offset by lower revenue recognition
from the 550 MW Desert Sunlight project.
Gross profit in the reported quarter was $236.7 million, up 39.8%
year over year.
Total operating expenses decreased 9.9% year over year to $97.4
million during the first quarter due to a 21.2% decline in
selling, general and administrative expenses.
Operating income of $139.3 million was up a significant 127.5%
from the year-earlier quarter.
In the first quarter 2014, the company's net interest expense
declined 45.3% due to lower long-term debt. Long-term debt was
$138.2 million at the end of the first quarter 2014 compared with
$162.8 million as of Dec 31, 2013.
First Solar had $975.2 million of cash and cash equivalents as of
Mar 31, 2014, down from $1,325.1 million at year-end 2013.
Long-term debt (including current portion) decreased to $198.9
million from $223.3 million at year-end 2013.
2014 Guidance Upgraded
First Solar has lifted its 2014 financial guidance on the back of
strong earnings delivered in the first quarter.
For 2014, the company has increased its earnings per share
guidance range to $2.40 to $2.80 per share from its prior
forecast of $2.20 to $2.60 per share.
For the year the company expects operating income of $290 million
to $340 million, higher than the prior guidance of $270 million
to $320 million
The operating cash flow guidance range of $300 million to $500
million has been increased from $250 million to $450 million.
Other Upcoming Releases
JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd.
) is scheduled to release its first quarter earnings on May 8.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate is currently at 8 cents.
) is scheduled to release its first quarter earnings on May 15.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate is currently at a loss of 5 cents.
Canadian Solar Inc.
) is scheduled to release its first quarter earnings on May 27.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate is currently at 7 cents.
First Solar easily surpassed our expectation in the first
quarter, thanks to higher sales and its ability to meet financial
and operational targets.
The solid start to the year supported by new bookings encouraged
First Solar to lift its guidance for 2014.
However, First Solar faces intense competition from manufacturers
of crystalline silicon solar modules and other types of solar
modules and PV systems. So, if the peers come out with better
quality PV products it can impact the company's competitive
position in the solar industry.
First Solar presently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
CANADIAN SOLAR (CSIQ): Free Stock Analysis
FIRST SOLAR INC (FSLR): Free Stock Analysis
JA SOLAR HOLDGS (JASO): Free Stock Analysis
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