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First Solar Q2 earnings miss due to tough macros, maintains full-year outlook

First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) stock was down about 4% after the bell post the Q2 results fell short of analyst estimates. However, the company’s share price has surged 61% in 2019 aided by improved installations in the US and ramp up of Series 6 modules, which is expected to improve margins.

With the solar installations expected to see a rebound in the US market, the company is expected to benefit from the improved macro environment. The stock touched a new 52-week high of $69 mark today ahead of the second quarter earnings are investors are bullish on the firm.

Q2 Performance

For the Q2 period, revenue rose 89% to $585 million, but still failed to surpass estimates of $667 million. Loss per share contracted to 18 cents per share compared to 64 cents in the prior year period. However, the street was anticipating First Solar to report adjusted earnings of 3 cents per share.

Commenting on the performance, CEO Mark Widmar said, “We had record module production and shipments during the second quarter, and with our recent bookings success we are now essentially sold out through 2020, with significant bookings visibility into 2021.”

Net bookings improved to 4.3 GWDC compared to 2.3 GWDC reported in the prior quarter. For the full-year period, First Solar is expecting shipments to be between 5.4-5.6 GW.

Fiscal Outlook

First Solar retained the full-year outlook provided in the first quarter. Revenue is expected to come in at $3.5-3.7 billion and EPS of $2.25-2.75. From the street perspective, top line is projected to improve to $3.56 billion and adjusted earnings of $2.44 per share.

Improving Demand

Solar module prices continued to decline due to intense competition and muted demand dragging the profitability for all manufacturers. First Solar has decided to focus on the utility-scale segment in the US and abroad.

The utility-scale projects in the US are expected to grow strongly over the next five years. First Solar would be benefitting from the surge in installations which would be improving the bottom line in the near future.

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