First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) shares are lower Tuesday as the
maker of solar modules will report its first-quarter earnings
figures after the market close. The stock last traded at $134.58,
down 2.1 percent from Monday's closing price.
Analysts are currently expecting First Solar to issue EPS of $1.16
on revenue of $544.37 million. Last quarter, the company had EPS of
$1.80 on sales of $609.8 million. First Solar produced earnings of
$2.00 per share on sales of $568 million during the same quarter
Shares gained 21 percent through the quarter and are down 16.6
First Solar's trades at a P/E of 12.3x FY12 EPS estimates, compared
with 7.6x at Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE: STP), 4.0x for
LDK Solar Co. (NYSE: LDK), and 7.7x for Yingli Green Energy Holding
Co. Ltd. (NYSE: YGE).
Data from Bloomberg has 23 analysts with a Buy on First Solar, 15
with a Hold, and seven suggesting to Sell. The analyst price target
average is $162, with a high of $200 and low of $87. Shares have
traded in a range of $175.45 - $100.19 over the last 52-weeks.
- Wedbush is expecting EPS of $1.12 on revs of $525 million.
Wedbush is cautious on First Solar shares "due to expected margin
contraction, pricing pressure, project development risks, and
feed-in-tariff changes in key markets." The firm believes
"guidance and commentary implies 2 GW of production with 1.6 GW
module sales and 400 MW systems business in 2011. We are modeling
implied module ASP of $1.30/watt, system module ASP of $1.70/watt
and EPC evenue of $2.30/watt in 2011."
- Kaufman expects EPS of $1.13 on revs of $558 million. Because
Kaufman believes First Solar is the lowest cost provider in the
solar space, the firm remains bullish on shares into the report.
"Because of the slow start to the year, investors have moved to
the sidelines, but we believe it is important to get back into
the stock ahead of the earnings report as the company is likely
to give strong guidance for next quarter and, at the very least,
reaffirm its full-year guidance. Importantly, the company is
benefiting from an improvement in the USD/Euro exchange rate. The
company issued its guidance at an assumed rate of $1.30/Euro,
while the average in the first quarter was around $1.38/Euro and
is currently at $1.45/Euro."
- Hapoalim Securities recently lowered estimates on First
Solar, now looking for EPS of $1.20 on revs of $530 million. The
move was made to reflect: "(1) an industry-wide slowdown amidst a
harsh winter in Germany and regulatory dislocations in Italy in
March and (2) a shift in our timing of systems shipments to
Hapoalim also considers risks moving forward: "(1) abrupt policy
changes dislocating demand in Italy and France, (2) a slowdown in
German demand which likely needs further module ASP declines to
overcome, (3) an industry-wide inventory build that may require a
couple quarters to absorb, and (4) a mounting supply/demand
imbalance in 2H11, we expect the solar industry to rapidly
transform into a buyer's market with industry pricing coming
- Collins Stewart is looking for EPS of $1.10 on revs of $535
million. The firm's forecast is "based on First Solar shipping
325MW modules to 3rd party customers and recognizing 40MW of
project sales in the quarter...Based on a cost per watt
assumption of $0.75, which includes the impact of one-time start
up costs at its new Malaysian facility, our gross margin forecast
of 42.3% represents a 640 bps sequential decline."
Stay tuned to StreetInsider.com's
section to see our analysis of the highly-anticipated quarterly
results withi0 n seconds of the release.