SunPower Shines Bright

Pouring It on
Sunpower (SPWR ) has captivated investors seeking clean-energy plays, causing the stock to double, from 24 in July to 50.46 on Apr. 11. The company makes high-efficiency silicon solar cells and panels that generate electricity from sunlight. SunPower should be a part of any "clean-energy portfolio," says Michael Carboy of investment outfit Signal Hill Capital Group, who rates the stock a buy. One of SunPower's attractions is its galloping sales growth in the past four years, from $5 million in 2003 to $236 million in 2006. And earnings at SunPower, which was spun off by Cypress Semiconductor (CY ) in 2005, are expected to double, from 51 cents a share in 2006 to 98 centsin 2007, and again, to $2 in 2008, figures Carboy. Cypress acquired SunPower in 2004 and still owns 69% after the spin-off. Carboy sees sales hitting $680.2 million in 2007 and $1.2 billion in 2008. Apart from its explosive sales and earnings growth, SunPower's "tremendous franchise strength and crisp execution appeal strongly to us," says Carboy. David Edwards of ThinkEquity Partners, who also rates SunPower a buy, says it ranks tops in what he looks for: people, product, potential, and predictability. SunPower's five-year outlook, says Edwards, prompted him to raise his 12-month target from 50 to 60.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, neither the sources cited in Inside Wall Street nor their firms hold positions in the stocks under discussion. Similarly, they have no investment banking or other financial relationships with them.

By Gene G. Marcial

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