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Ameresco Earnings: An Early Look

Saturday - 3/16/2013, 1:15pm  ET

Earnings season is winding down, with most companies already having reported their quarterly results. But there are still some companies left to report, and Ameresco is about to release its quarterly earnings. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarterly reports is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

Energy efficiency is one of the most important ways that businesses and other major power users can cut costs, and Ameresco is in the business of helping institutions make their systems more energy-efficient. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Ameresco over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Monday.

Stats on Ameresco

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.14

Change From Year-Ago EPS

(22%)

Revenue Estimate

$162.1 million

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

(14%)

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

1

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Ameresco give investors what they want this quarter?
Analysts have gotten less optimistic about Ameresco over the past few months, cutting their estimates for the just-ended quarter by $0.06 per share and reining in full-year 2013 earnings-per-share calls by $0.09. The stock has also suffered, falling 20% since mid-December.

Ameresco combines several types of energy services, including engineering, consulting, and contractor work, to put together solutions that save its clients energy. From more efficient lighting to building massive renewable-energy installations, Ameresco's trademark is providing guarantees that the energy savings from a project will be sufficient to repay debt, saving customers from putting up substantial funds upfront.

One of the biggest growth areas for Ameresco is solar energy. Right now, residential installations have become exceeding popular as companies flood into the space. SunPower , SolarCity , and other providers are offering programs similar to what Ameresco does for institutional customers, allowing homeowners to install solar panels at no upfront cost. If Ameresco can tap into that market, it could provide a big boost to its business. Similarly, getting into larger-scale independent solar projects would put Ameresco up against giant First Solar , but its perspective on financing such projects could give it an edge.

But a big problem for Ameresco has come from the political uncertainty that dominated the fourth quarter of last year. In last quarter's report, Ameresco blamed the uncertain status of tax credits and other incentives on a growing gap between signing contracts and actually delivering on them, as clients didn't know whether projects would get enough subsidies to justify moving forward. That may weigh on Ameresco again in this report, but with many provisions extended, 2013 should start looking better for Ameresco.

In its quarterly report, watch for Ameresco to comment on its recent acquisition of Ennovate, a Colorado-based energy-services provider. The move should help Ameresco broaden its geographical reach throughout the Mountain West, providing a potential catalyst for the company to reverse its falling sales.

Investors who like Ameresco for its solar exposure should note that industry leader First Solar has dropped precipitously over the past two years. The stakes have never been higher for First Solar. Is it done for good, or ready for a rebound? If you're looking for continuing updates and guidance on the company whenever news breaks, The Motley Fool has created a brand-new report that details every must know side of this stock. To get started, simply click here now.

Click here to add Ameresco to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

This article was originally published as Ameresco Earnings: An Early Lookon Fool.com

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