The Motley Fool

Should You Buy or Avoid Westport Innovations Inc. Today?

Westport Innovations Inc. (TSX:WPT)(NASDAQ:WPRT), one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of advanced natural gas engines and vehicles, announced first-quarter earnings after the market closed on May 7, and its stock responded by rising over 5.5% in the trading session that followed. Even after this large pop, the company’s stock still sits more than 65% below its 52-week high, so let’s take a closer look at the results to determine if this could be the start of a sustained rally higher.

The results that ignited a rally

Here’s a summary of Westport’s first-quarter earnings results compared with its results in the same period a year ago. All figures are in U.S. dollars.

Metric Q1 2015 Q1 2014
Earnings Per Share ($0.27) ($0.38)
Revenue $28.02 million $39.93 million

Source: Westport Innovations Inc.

In the first quarter of fiscal 2015 Westport reported a net loss of $17.2 million, or $0.27 per share, compared with a net loss of $23.9 million, or $0.38 per share, in the same quarter a year ago, as its revenue decreased 29.8% to $28.02 million.

The company noted that this very weak performance could be attributed to two primary factors. First, the weakening of the Euro against the U.S. dollar reduced its sales by $4.6 million. Second, lower oil prices led to lower petroleum-based fuel prices in the first quarter, which resulted in increased competition from gasoline-fueled vehicles.

Here’s a quick breakdown of six other notable statistics from the report compared with the year-ago period:

  1. Product revenues decreased 22.4% to $26.98 million
  2. Services and other revenues decreased 79.7% to $1.05 million
  3. Gross profit decreased 56.1% to $5.4 million
  4. Gross margin contracted 1,150 basis points to 19.3%
  5. Reported a consolidated operating loss of $21 million, compared with an operating loss of $27 million in the year-ago period
  6. Ended the quarter with $70.61 million in cash and cash equivalents, a decrease of 24.3% from the beginning of the quarter

Can the rally in Westport’s shares continue?

The first quarter was far from impressive for Westport, so I do not think the post-earnings rally in its stock was warranted at all. Furthermore, I do not think there is any reason to gamble on the stock, because there are much better investment opportunities in this industry and in other industries today.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Joseph Solitro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Westport Innovations.

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