First Solar (FSLR) is reporting Q1 results tonight after the close with a conference call to follow at 4:30pm ET. FSLRusually reports at 4:05 pm and will provide additional details in an investor presentation shortly after.
Current Q4 consensus stands at EPS of $0.77 on Revenue of $928 mln
Due to FSLR's revenue recognition model, big headline beat/misses rarely tell the story of FSLR.
FSLR provided market participants with an early look at 2016 on December 10 at its Investor Day conference. The co provided a rather quiet outlook which left participants a little uncertain given the FSLR's history of understating its outlook.
One metric that will be closely watched is the gross margin outlook which saw an approx 800 bps decline from the expected FY15 number.
Current FY16 Guidance
Net sales of $3.9 to $4.1 bln Capital IQ consensus $3.77 bln
Solar power systems net sales expected to comprise 90% to 95% of the total and third party module sales the remainder (Approx the same as 2015).
- Earnings per fully diluted share of $4.00 to $4.50 , Capital IQ consensus $4.12.
- Ending 2016 net cash of $2.0 to $2.3 billion.
- Capital expenditures of $300 to $400 million are higher than 2015 forecasted levels as the Company invests in further advancements in its cost and technology roadmap (FY15 guidance is $175-200 mln).
- Gross Margin % 16% to 18% (FY15 guidance is 24-25%)
- Operating Expenses $380-400 mln (FY15 guidance is $395-405 mln)
- Operating Income $260-330 mln
- Effective Tax Rate 16% to 18%
- Operating Cash Flow $500-700 mln
- Shipments 2.9GW to 3.0GW (2015 guidance is 2.8-2.9 GW)
Q3 Recap & 2015 Outlook
FSLR reports Q3 (Sep) earnings of $3.38 per share, $1.76 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $1.62. Revenues rose 42.9% year/year to $1.27 bln vs the $1.11 bln Capital IQ Consensus.
- Co issues upside guidance for FY15, seeing EPS of $3.5-3.6 bln (Unchanged) vs. $3.32 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
- Gross Margin 24-25% (Prior 21-22%)
- Operating Expenses $395-405 mln (Prior ($415-425 mln)
- Operating Income $450-490 mln (Prior $330-370 mln) EPS $4.30-4.50 (Prior $3.30-3.60)
- Net Cash Balance $1.3-1.4 bln (Prior $1.2-1.4 bln)
- CapEx $175-200 mln (Unchanged)
- Working Capital $1.1-1.2 bln (Prior $1.1-1.3 bln)
- Shipments 2.8-29 GW (Unchanged)