First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2015. Net sales were $942 million in the quarter, a decrease of $329 million from the third quarter of 2015. The decrease in net sales from the prior quarter was primarily attributable to lower revenue from the Desert Stateline project, which achieved initial revenue recognition in the third quarter. In addition, sales of third party module and module plus offerings decreased.
The Company reported fourth quarter earnings per share of $1.60, compared to $3.41 in the prior quarter. The decrease in net income from the third quarter was due to lower net sales, a decrease in gross margins and higher operating expenses. In the third quarter, gross margins and operating expenses benefited from a decrease in the Company’s module collection and recycling obligation. Partially offsetting the decrease in net income versus the prior quarter was a benefit from lower tax expense, which resulted from a favorable mix of jurisdictional income.
Cash and marketable securities at the end of the fourth quarter remained at $1.8 billion. Cash flows from operations were $53 million in the fourth quarter.
“We exit 2015 with record annual revenues, record new bookings and earnings per share of over five dollars,” said Jim Hughes, CEO of First Solar. “As we look back to the 2015 targets first provided to investors at our Analyst Day nearly three years ago, we recognize that we have achieved the efficiency, cost per watt and earnings targets outlined at that time. We enter 2016 with tremendous technology, a strong pipeline and an ongoing commitment to achieve the long-term objectives we have communicated to our investors.” (Original Source)
Shares of First Solar climbed nearly 6% in after-hours trading. FSLR has a 1-year high of $72.12 and a 1-year low of $40.25. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $64.94 and its 200-day moving average is $55.83.
On the ratings front, First Solar has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on January 26, Roth Capital analyst Philip Shen initiated coverage with a Buy rating on FSLR and a price target of $80, which represents a potential upside of 25.4% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on January 25, Robert W. Baird’s Ben Kallo maintained a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $69.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Philip Shen and Ben Kallo have a total average return of -16.9% and 4.1% respectively. Shen has a success rate of 24.8% and is ranked #3600 out of 3638 analysts, while Kallo has a success rate of 47.0% and is ranked #623.
The street is mostly Bullish on FSLR stock. Out of 11 analysts who cover the stock, 10 suggest a Buy rating and one recommends to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $81.67, which implies an upside of 28% from current levels.
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.