First Solar, Inc. Surges After Earnings Beat

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First Solar released its second quarter earnings report after closing bell, posting adjusted earnings of 87 cents per share on $934 million in revenue. Analysts had been expecting earnings of 55 cents per share on $862.7 million in sales. The non-GAAP earnings number was adjusted for charges related to TetraSun.

First Solar’s profits plunge

First Solar’s GAAP earnings were 13 cents per share, a significant decline from last year’s $1.66 per share. The company said its net income declined sequentially as a result of the mix of systems projects that were sold and still under construction. Also there was a gain on the sale of some restricted investments during the first quarter.

The company said the increase of $86 million in net sales from the previous quarter was mostly the result of higher module-only sales and the sale of the Kingbird project, plus recognition of revenue from multiple systems projects. Lower revenue from the Stateline and Silver State South projects that were at or near completion partially offset the increase.

“Our operational execution in 2016 continues to be strong and resulted in another quarter of solid financial results,” First Solar Chief Executive Mark Widmar said in a statement. “Our lead line module efficiency exited the quarter at over 16.6%, and we further lowered our module cost per watt. We sold our Kingbird project in Q2, and our steady execution across our portfolio of systems projects resulted in significant cost reductions.”

First Solar adjusts earnings guidance

First Solar slashed its GAAP earnings guidance for the full year to a range of $3.65 to $3.90 per share from the previous outlook of $4.20 to $4.50 per share. Management expects non-GAAP earnings to be between $4.20 and $4.50 per share, and the consensus estimate for adjusted earnings stands at $4.25 per share. The solar panel company left its guide for GAAP sales to be between $3.8 billion and $4 billion for the full year. It raised the low end of its GAAP gross margin projection to 18.5% from 18%. First Solar also left its outlook for full-year shipments unchanged at 2.9 gigawatts to 3 gigawatts.

Shares of First Solar surged by more than 3% initially but then reversed course in after-hours trades. The stock is up 1.5% at $49.98 per share as of this writing.

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