New SunPower chief fronts tough set of quarterly figures


Former Amazon executive Peter Faricy has had a tough baptism at the helm of California-based solar installer SunPower, with the new CEO announcing a first-quarter loss of $48.4 million.

Previous boss Tom Werner, who will stay on as chairman until September, reported a $413 million profit in his last three-month-earnings report.

In fairness to Faricy, he can point to the fact he did not take up office until last month, following his appointment on March 25 but, with SunPower admitting there is a chance revenue could fall further in the current window, from the $306 million just announced to $295-345 million, that excuse could soon evaporate.

The figures for SunPower, which is controlled by French energy company Total, were given a more positive sheen by the non-generally accepted accounting principle (GAAP) of stripping out unfortunate red numbers for the last quarter. Non-GAAP net income of $9.3 million can be conjured up by simply removing the $7.1 million operations cost of a legacy business, $3.8 million of restructuring charges and $1 million of reorganization costs, all of which presumably relate to the hiving off of the company's solar manufacturing business into Maxeon last year. Take another $5 million worth of shares compensation packages out, a thumping $44.7 million hit on equity investments, and $5.2 million for unspecified “litigation costs” and hey presto! A quarterly profit emerges.

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In terms of those annoying GAAP numbers, SunPower is predicting a more palatable second-quarter reverse of just $1-12 million, at least, and there is talk of healthy residential, small business and commercial and industrial custom during the first quarter, and rising interest in SunPower's energy storage products, even if the value of total inventory rose $20 million, from $211 million on January 3 to $231 million on April 4.

This copy was amended on 10/05/21 to reflect Peter Faricy did not take up office as SunPower CEO until April 19.

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