SunPower posts wider-than-expected Q1 loss

SunPower's fifth-generation Maxeon solar cells (right). Source: SunPower

May 10 (Renewables Now) - SunPower Corp (NASDAQ:SPWR) on Thursday reported a first-quarter (Q1) GAAP net loss that was wider than anticipated, while the rest of its key financial indicators met or even exceeded expectations.

The solar panels manufacturer and installer posted a GAAP net loss of USD 89.7 million (EUR 79.9m) and even though it was narrowed from USD 116 million a year earlier, the result did not fall in the guidance range of USD 70 million-50 million. On a non-GAAP basis, the loss doubled to USD 57.4 million from USD 28.2 million.

At the same time, the top line surpassed both projected ranges of USD 290 million-330 million (GAAP) and USD 350 million-390 million (non-GAAP), reaching USD 348.2 million and USD 411.6 million, respectively.

"Solid execution enabled us to meet or exceed our key financial guidance targets for the quarter as we positioned ourselves for a strong second half of the year," said CFO Manavendra Sial.

The table below gives more details about the company’s Q1 performance.

Figures in USD million, unless otherwise noted Q1 2019 Q4 2018 Q1 2018
GAAP revenue 348.2 456.8 391.9
GAAP gross margin (10.7)% (1.7)% 2.6%
GAAP net loss (89.7) (158.2) (116.0)
GAAP net loss per diluted share (0.63) (1.12) (0.83)
Non-GAAP revenue 411.6 525.4 398.9
Non-GAAP gross margin 6.0% 6.9% 6.5%
Non-GAAP net loss (57.4) (30.3) (28.2)
Non-GAAP net loss per diluted shares (0.41) (0.21) (0.20)
Adjusted EBITDA (23.8) 13.6 32.3
MW Deployed 455 441 326

The non-GAAP results exclude net adjustments that, in the aggregate, improved non-GAAP earnings by USD 32.3 million, the firm pointed out.

CEO Tom Werner commented that demand in the company’s global DG business continues to be strong and that during the three-month period SunPower expanded shipments into the international power plant market. He noted that the residential business was affected by unusually severe weather and related installation delays in a number of important markets and this limited MW volume. Still, the company was able to offset this thanks to expenses management, improved operational efficiency and a stable pricing environment.

When it comes to manufacturing, Werner said he expects nameplate Maxeon Gen 5 solar cell production capacity to expand to 250 MW by the end of the year in view of the recent start of tool installation for a second manufacturing line.

“Finally, we are operating our fabs at 100 percent utilization to meet the strong demand for our products as well as the production of up to 200 MW of panels for our 2019 U.S. safe harbor program," the CEO concluded.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.891)

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