Thu, Oct. 29, 4:56 PM
- After resuming trading, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) has surged above $56 in response to its large Q3 beat and full-year EPS guidance hike.
- Shares are now up 26% YTD, and trade for 12.8x the midpoint of a revised 2015 EPS guidance range of $4.30-$4.50. U.S. solar peer SolarCity is having a much rougher time following its Q3 report.
- Q3 results, guidance/details
Thu, Oct. 29, 4:31 PM
- With a big Q3 EPS beat on the books, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) has hiked its 2015 EPS guidance to $4.30-$4.50 from $3.30-$3.60 (consensus is at $3.43). Sales guidance (depends heavily on project sale timings) remains at $3.5B-$3.6B (consensus is at $3.57B).
- Contributing to the EPS guidance hike: Gross margin guidance has been upped to 24%-25% from 21%-22%.
- Q3 results are preliminary pending the analysis of "a discrete income tax matter related to a foreign jurisdiction." First Solar thinks the issue could have an adverse impact of up to $40M.
- Bookings/pipeline: A record 1.7GW of bookings were recorded in Q3, and another 1.4GW have been recorded to date in Q4. As a result, expected future systems + 3rd-party module shipments have risen to 4.8GW from 3.8GW at the end of June. Expected systems + 3rd-party module revenue is at $7.4B, up $400M from the end of June. The potential bookings pipeline has risen by 700MW Q/Q to 17.4GW (mostly early-stage).
- Shares are halted.
- Q3 results, PR, slides (.pdf)
- Update (4:58PM ET): First Solar is up 10.2% after resuming trading.
Thu, Oct. 29, 4:08 PM
Wed, Oct. 28, 5:35 PM
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Wed, Sep. 30, 6:44 PM
- Initially off following its FQ3 report, 8point3 Energy (NASDAQ:CAFD) has since risen to $10.95. The First Solar/SunPower (FSLR, SPWR) YieldCo still trades well below its $21 June IPO price.
- 8point3 has used its report to declare a $0.157/share prorated (post-IPO) distribution for FQ3, and forecast a $0.22/share FQ4 distribution (up 3.5% Q/Q after adjusting for prorating). Cash available for distribution is expected to rise to $14.8M-$15.2M from FQ3's $6.7M, and GAAP revenue to $4.9M-$5.1M from $3.1M.
- Financials: FQ3 (ended Aug. 31) operating costs/expenses totaled $3.8M, nearly flat with the 3-month period ending Sep. 28, 2014. CAFD ended the quarter with $43.4M in cash, and $297.1M in long-term debt.
- CEO Chuck Boynton: "As of the end of the third quarter 2015, we had 301 MW in production and expect an additional 131 MW of projects to reach commercial operation by the end of the year. Specifically, our 108 MW Quinto project remains on track to reach commercial operation on Oct. 31, 2015 and is already generating test energy prior to commercial operation. Once our initial portfolio reaches commercial operation this year, our assets are expected to generate approximately $70 million in annual CAFD with an approximately 22-year average remaining contract term."
- FQ3 results, PR
Tue, Aug. 4, 4:30 PM
- In addition to beating Q2 estimates, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) is guiding for 2015 revenue of $3.5B-$3.6B and EPS of $3.30-$3.60, above a consensus of $3.44B and $2.36.
- As always, the company's quarterly/annual numbers depend a lot on the timing of revenue recognition for solar project sales. Q2 growth is attributed to "increased revenue recognition on the Silver State South project and the sale of majority interests in the North Star and Lost Hills-Blackwell projects."
- Bookings/pipeline: Q2 project bookings totaled 537MW, bringing the YTD total to 1.4GW. Expected future module shipments fell by 100MW Q/Q to 3.8GW, and expected future systems/module revenue by $600M to $7B. However, potential bookings opportunities rose by 2.7GW to 16.7GW (primarily early-stage).
- Module production: Output rose 4% Q/Q and 26% Y/Y to 563MW. Capacity utilization was 85% vs. 87% in Q1 and 80% a year ago. Average conversion efficiency rose 70 bps Q/Q and 140 bps Y/Y to 15.4%, with a best-line efficiency of 16.2%.
- Financials: Gross margin (affected by deal timings) rose to 18.4% from 8.3% in Q1 and 17% a year ago; Q3 GM guidance is at 21%-22%. R&D spend fell 10% Y/Y to $30M; SG&A rose 23% to $71M. Free cash flow was -$47.3M. First Solar ended Q2 with $1.78B in cash/investments, and $300M in long-term debt.
- First Solar has jumped to $49.29 AH. SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE) is up 2.8% to $23.07, and SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) up 1.9% to $27.23. SunEdison reports on Thursday.
- First Solar's Q2 results, PR, slides (.pdf)
Tue, Aug. 4, 4:05 PM
Mon, Aug. 3, 5:35 PM
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Thu, Apr. 30, 5:13 PM
- Though it missed Q1 estimates, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) is guiding for Q2 revenue of $750M-$850M and EPS of $0.45-$0.55 vs. a consensus of $779.7M and $0.40.
- The company also announces it's partnering with construction machinery giant Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) to provide integrated solar systems for microgrids in places where reliable grid electricity is lacking. CAT +0.7% AH to $87.50.
- First Solar will "design and manufacture a pre-engineered turnkey package for use in remote microgrid applications, such as small communities and mine sites," and also manufacture Caterpillar-branded panels. Caterpillar will act as the exclusive seller of the solution, which will be paired with related generator sets and energy storage hardware.
- Q1 sales weakness is blamed on the retaining of projects meant for First Solar/SunPower's YieldCo JV, as well as on multiple project delays and a higher mix of module-only sales.
- Potential bookings opportunities rose by 500MW Q/Q to 14GW, and expected future systems/3rd-party module revenue by $300M to $7.6B. Expected module shipments rose by 200MW to 3.9GW. Module production rose 6% Q/Q and 22% Y/Y to 540MW; capacity utilization rose 300 bps Q/Q and 500 bps Y/Y to 87%.
- First Solar's Q1 results, PR, slides (.pdf)
Thu, Apr. 30, 4:59 PM
Wed, Apr. 29, 5:35 PM
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Wed, Feb. 25, 9:34 AM
- BofA/Merrill and Northland Securities have upgraded First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) to neutral ratings after the company provided mixed Q4 results and light Q1 guidance in the wake of its YieldCo announcement. Needham and RBC have hiked their targets.
- Northland's Colin Rusch: "With FSLR’s announcement of its intention to list a yield co, we are moving to the sidelines for now until further details are available on the yield co." His $51 target (upped from $46) assumes the YieldCo will be worth $6B, sport a 3.5% dividend yield, and have cash available for distribution (CAFD) of $0.08/watt, with First Solar deploying 3GW into it by the end of 2017.
- Needham's Edwin Mok (target hiked by $5 to $75): "With the announced negotiations between FSLR and SPWR to form a joint yieldco, we are not surprised by the lowered 1Q15 guidance ... we believe management is executing its prior plans on project pipeline development, increasing efficiency and capacity expansions. The yieldco strategy coupled with FSLR's strong market position and a well capitalized balance sheet should enable FSLR to extract significant value from the joint yieldco."
- Prior First Solar coverage
Tue, Feb. 24, 5:57 PM
- Along with mixed Q4 results, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) has guided for Q1 revenue of $550M-$650M and EPS of -$0.25 to -$0.35, below a consensus of $933M and $0.84. The company blames "the completion of the Desert Sunlight and Topaz projects and the retention of projects on balance sheet in relation to the announced plan to pursue a joint YieldCo vehicle with SunPower."
- 509MW of solar modules were produced in Q4, +13% Q/Q and +15% Y/Y. Conversion efficiency (fleet average) rose to 14.4% from 14.2% and 13.4%, and capacity utilization to 84% from 77% and 83%.
- Potential project bookings opportunities are down by 200MW Q/Q to 13.5GW, and expected future systems/3rd-party module revenue up by $100M to $7.5B. However, expected module shipments are up by a healthy 700MW to 4GW.
- Gross margin rose 930 bps Q/Q and 600 bps Y/Y to 30.6%. R&D spend fell 9% Y/Y to $35M, and SG&A 8% to $71M. First Solar ended 2014 with $1.99B in cash/investments, and just $217M in long-term debt.
- Shares are down just fractionally AH, as investors keep focusing on the YieldCo. They rose 10.2% in regular trading.
- Q4 results, PR, earnings slides (.pdf)
- YieldCo coverage: I, II
Tue, Feb. 24, 4:07 PM
Tue, Feb. 24, 1:16 PM
- SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) states in its Q4 earnings slides (.pdf) its planned solar project YieldCo with First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) will be a 50/50 JV, and promises it will lower the companies' cost of capital and improve their financing options for solar projects.
- Meanwhile, Deutsche's Vishal Shah (a long-time solar bull) has upgraded First Solar to Buy ahead of this afternoon's Q4 report, and declares the YieldCo could be "one of the best growth stories out there."
- Under "conservative assumptions," he sees SunPower and First Solar respectively having 640MW and 755MW of projects they can contribute, resulting in an equity value of $2.8B. Assuming an 85% payout ratio, Shah sees the YieldCo providing a 5% dividend yield. He adds the companies could each contribute another ~1.5GW of projects (via their pipelines) by the end of 2016.
- Raymond James' Pavel Molchanov compares the alliance to a Duke/UNC or Coke/Pepsi partnership. "By joining forces, First Solar and SunPower can create an asset base that is even larger ... With the S-1 set to be filed in 1Q, we see no reason why the IPO couldn’t take place in 2015."
- The YieldCo news is easily overshadowing SunPower's light Q1 guidance: Revenue of $410M-$460M and EPS of $0.05-$0.15 vs. a consensus of $544.7M and $0.25. Though the company says its "business fundamentals for 2015 remain strong," it's withdrawing its full-year guidance until YieldCo plans are finalized.
- SunPower recognized revenue on 293MW of solar systems in Q4, a little below guidance of 300MW-340MW. It expects to recognize 240MW-270MW in seasonally weak Q1. Q4 gross margin was 20.4%, +370 bps Q/Q and flat Y/Y. Q1 GM guidance is at 18%-20%.
Mon, Feb. 23, 5:35 PM
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First Solar Inc is a provider of solar energy solutions. It designs, manufactures and sells PV solar modules with a thin-film semiconductor technology. It also manufactures crystalline silicon solar modules.
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