First Solar Goes Negative

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First Solar (NAS: FSLR) reported earnings on Feb. 28. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), First Solar whiffed on revenues and earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew and GAAP earnings per share dropped to a loss.

Margins dropped across the board.

Revenue details
First Solar booked revenue of $660.0 million. The 30 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ foresaw sales of $781.4 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 8.3% higher than the prior-year quarter's $609.8 million.

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Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $1.26. The 19 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ anticipated $1.59 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS were -$4.78 for Q4 against $1.80 per share for the prior-year quarter.

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Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 20.9%, 3,190 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was -6.1%, 3,710 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was -62.6%, 8,820 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $748.1 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.84.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $3.72 billion. The average EPS estimate is $4.15.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a two-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 3,200 members out of 3,907 rating the stock outperform, and 707 members rating it underperform. Among 726 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 536 give First Solar a green thumbs-up, and 190 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on First Solar is hold, with an average price target of $39.42.

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At the time this article was published Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor ofMotley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. The Motley Fool owns shares of First Solar. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of First Solar. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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