First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) announced financial results for the first quarter of 2016. Net sales were $848 million in the quarter, a decrease of $94 million from the fourth quarter of 2015. The decrease in net sales from the prior quarter was primarily due to the timing of systems revenue recognition across multiple projects, partially offset by higher revenue from the Desert Stateline project. In addition, net sales from module plus offerings decreased versus the fourth quarter.
The increase in Desert Stateline revenue in the first quarter resulted from an amendment to the original sale agreement with Southern Company to include an additional 15% interest in the project. This amendment did not impact expected full year 2016 earnings, but did accelerate the timing of certain earnings, relative to prior expectations, from the second half of the year to the first quarter.
The Company reported first quarter earnings per share of $1.66, compared to $1.60 in the prior quarter. The increase in net income versus the fourth quarter resulted from higher Desert Stateline revenue, systems cost improvements and a one-time gain on the sale of certain restricted investments. These items were partially offset by an increase in tax expense.
Cash and marketable securities at the end of the first quarter increased to $1.9 billion. Cash flows from operations were $50 million in the first quarter.
“Our first quarter results represent a very strong start to 2016,” said Jim Hughes, CEO of First Solar. “The sale of additional economic interests in our Stateline project further strengthens our relationship with a strategic business partner, and the transaction provides greater flexibility for future dropdowns to 8point3. We continue to operate our business with a disciplined approach and are focused on achieving our 2016 objectives communicated at our recent Analyst Day.” (Original Source)
Shares of First Solar are down nearly 9% to $56.49 in after-hours trading. FSLR has a 1-year high of $74.29 and a 1-year low of $40.25. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $65.72 and its 200-day moving average is $62.15.
On the ratings front, First Solar has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on April 25, Robert W. Baird analyst Ben Kallo maintained a Buy rating on FSLR, with a price target of $68, which represents a potential upside of 11.3% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on April 13, Guggenheim’s Sophie Karp initiated coverage with a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $77.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Ben Kallo and Sophie Karp have a total average return of 6.3% and -6.4% respectively. Kallo has a success rate of 53.6% and is ranked #532 out of 3829 analysts, while Karp has a success rate of 33.3% and is ranked #2789.
Overall, 8 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 5 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $73.75 which is 20.7% above where the stock opened today.
First Solar, Inc. operates as a solar energy solutions company. It engages in the designing, manufacturing, marketing and distribution of photovoltaic solar power systems and solar modules with an advanced thin-film semiconductor technology. The company operates in two business segments: Components and Systems. The Components segment designs, manufactures and sells solar modules primarily to solar project developers and system integrators. The Systems segment provides a complete solar power system solution, which includes project development, engineering, procurement and construction services, operating and maintenance services. It also develops sites for building solar power systems using solar modules and provides a complete solar power system solution, which includes project development, engineering, procurement and construction services, operating and maintenance services. The company was founded by Michael J. Ahearn in 1999 and is headquartered in Tempe, AZ.