Renewable Energy Stocks

First Solar Inc. Valuation – November 2015 Update $FSLR

Benjamin Graham taught that Intelligent Investors must do a thorough fundamental analysis of investment opportunities to determine their intrinsic value and inherent risk.  This is best done by utilizing a systematic approach to analysis that will provide investors with a sense of how a specific company compares to another company or by reviewing the 10 Most Undervalued Companies for the Defensive Investor – October 2015.  By using the ModernGraham method one can review a company’s historical accomplishments and determine an intrinsic value that can be compared across industries.  What follows is a stock analysis showing a specific look at how First Solar Inc. (FSLR) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.

Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): First Solar, Inc. is a global provider of solar energy solutions. The Company designs, manufactures and sells photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, and also develops, designs, constructs and sells PV solar power solutions. The Company operates through two segments: components and systems. The Company’s components segment involves the design, manufacture and sale of solar modules, which convert sunlight into electricity. The systems segment provides turn-key PV solar power systems or solar solutions for systems primarily using its solar modules. The Company also manufactures crystalline silicon solar modules and single-axis mounting systems with tracking capabilities. The Company offers its products and services for residential, commercial and industrial applications, including solar power system project developers, system integrators and solar plant operators, throughout the Americas, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.


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Premium members can view a full ModernGraham valuation of the company and have access to download a PDF version of the valuation for easy reference. Here is a free sample valuation pdf, and here is a post detailing what can be found within each individual company’s valuation.


Downloadable PDF version of this valuation:

ModernGraham Valuation of FSLR – October 2015

Stage 1: Is this company suitable for the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor?

What kind of Intelligent Investor are you?

Defensive Investor; must pass 6 out of the following 7 tests.
1. Adequate Size of the Enterprise Market Cap > $2Bil $5,973,396,833 Pass
2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Current Ratio > 2 3.65 Pass
3. Earnings Stability Positive EPS for 10 years prior Fail
4. Dividend Record Dividend Payments for 10 years prior Fail
5. Earnings Growth Increase of 33% in EPS in past 10 years using 3 year averages at beginning and end 35.80% Pass
6. Moderate PEmg Ratio PEmg < 20 30.55 Fail
7. Moderate Price to Assets PB Ratio < 2.5 OR PB*PEmg < 50 1.10 Pass
Enterprising Investor; must pass 4 out of the following 5 tests, or be suitable for the Defensive Investor.
1. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Current Ratio > 1.5 3.65 Pass
2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Debt to NCA < 1.1 0.11 Pass
3. Earnings Stability Positive EPS for 5 years prior Fail
4. Dividend Record Currently Pays Dividend Fail
5. Earnings Growth EPSmg greater than 5 years ago Fail

Stage 2: Determination of Intrinsic Value

FSLR value Chart October 2015

EPSmg $1.94
MG Growth Estimate -4.25%
MG Value $15.97
Opinion Overvalued
MG Value based on 3% Growth $28.09
MG Value based on 0% Growth $16.47
Market Implied Growth Rate 11.03%
Current Price $59.19
% of Intrinsic Value 370.56%

First Solar Inc. does not qualify for either the Enterprising Investor or the more conservative Defensive Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned with the lack of dividends, insufficient earnings stability over the last ten years and the high PEmg ratio.  The Enterprising Investor is concerned by the insufficient earnings growth or stability over the last five years and the lack of dividends.  As a result, all value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities at this time or proceed with a cautious speculative attitude.

As for a valuation, the company appears to be overvalued after seeing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) decline from $4.10 in 2011 to an estimated $1.94 for 2015.  This level of demonstrated earnings growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 11.03% annual earnings growth over the next 7-10 years.  As a result, the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, returns an estimate of intrinsic value below the price.

The next part of the analysis is up to individual investors, and requires discussion of the company’s prospects.  What do you think?  What value would you put on First Solar Inc. (FSLR)?  Where do you see the company going in the future?  Is there a company you like better?  Leave a comment on our Facebook page or mention @ModernGraham on Twitter to discuss.

Stage 3: Information for Further Research

FSLR Charts October 2015

Net Current Asset Value (NCAV) $15.97
Graham Number $34.77
PEmg 30.55
Current Ratio 3.65
PB Ratio 1.10
Dividend Yield 0.00%
Number of Consecutive Years of Dividend Growth 0



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Most Recent Balance Sheet Figures

Total Current Assets $3,251,329,000
Total Current Liabilities $891,706,000
Long-Term Debt $251,395,000
Total Assets $7,060,642,000
Intangible Assets $197,455,000
Total Liabilities $1,639,797,000
Shares Outstanding (Diluted Average) 100,890,000

Earnings Per Share History

Next Fiscal Year Estimate $1.00
Dec14 $3.91
Dec13 $3.70
Dec12 -$1.11
Dec11 -$0.46
Dec10 $7.68
Dec09 $7.53
Dec08 $4.24
Dec07 $2.03
Dec06 $0.07
Dec05 -$0.13
Dec04 -$0.39
Dec03 -$0.78

Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham History

Next Fiscal Year Estimate $1.94
Dec14 $2.52
Dec13 $2.37
Dec12 $2.33
Dec11 $4.10
Dec10 $5.69
Dec09 $4.05
Dec08 $1.93
Dec07 $0.57
Dec06 -$0.19
Dec05 -$0.30
Dec04 -$0.34
Dec03 -$0.26

Recommended Reading:

Other ModernGraham posts about the company

28 Companies in the Spotlight This Week – 11/1/14
First Solar Inc. Annual Valuation – 2014 $FSLR

Other ModernGraham posts about related companies

First Solar Inc. Annual Valuation – 2014 $FSLR


The author did not hold a position in any company mentioned in this article at the time of publication and had no intention of changing that position within the next 72 hours.  See my current holdings here.  This article is not investment advice; any reader should speak to a registered investment adviser prior to making any investment decisions.  ModernGraham is not affiliated with the company in any manner.  Please be sure to review our detailed disclaimer.

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