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First Solar wins target raise from Roth

First Solar (First Solar Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials NASDAQ:FSLR) has been an absolute monster of a stock over the past half-year, but with continuing growth in bookings and the potential announcement of a new solar facility in the works, investors should stick around for more. That’s the view of Roth Capital Partners analyst Philip Shen, who provided an earnings preview on Tuesday where he retained a “Buy” rating on the stock while increasing his target price from $180.00 to $220.00, saying investors should be buying FSLR on any dip coming after the Q4 results.

Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar is a vertically integrated solar company and is the world’s largest manufacturer of thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules. The company offers turn-key utility-scale solar power solutions to third-party purchasers and develops projects which incorporate the company’s own PV modules.

First Solar’s share price is now at its highest point in a decade and is up about 160 per cent since July of last year. 

Shen said he expects that strength to hold given the company’s expected steady bookings through 2023. 

“The keys heading into the Q4 print are bookings and ASPs, which we believe could be healthy and strong. Management is also working hard with ramping its Perrysburg, India, and Alabama facilities,” Shen wrote.

First Solar last reported earnings in late October where its third quarter 2022 featured net sales of $629 million compared to $584 a year earlier and up $8 million from the previous quarter. The company’s net loss per diluted share was $0.46. (All figures in US dollars.)

For the upcoming Q4 2022, due in the third week of February, Shen is expecting a big jump to $979.8 million compared to $907.3 million a year earlier, with EPS at negative $0.16 per share compared to $1.23 per share a year earlier. Gross Margin is expected to be at 15.4 per cent. The consensus Q4 call is for revenue of $1.0 billion and EPS at negative $0.16 per share.

“A key catalyst ahead includes potential for the announcement of another facility, which continue to expect to be somewhere in the US Southeast. As it relates to the company’s CURE technology, we wonder if there be potential for some improvements ahead despite the challenges over the past few years,” Shen wrote.

“The stock is at its highest point in a decade, and trading at 38x 2023 and 18x 2024 consensus EPS it is not necessarily cheap, but any weakness post-Q4 release we see as a buying opportunity,” Shen said.

At press time, Shen’s new $220 target represented a projected one-year return of 25 per cent.

About The Author /

Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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