Plug Power Inc. has been on a wild ride so far this year. With stock prices rising as much as 8 percent and falling as much as 28 percent, investors are wondering where the fuel cell solution generator will go, particularly after its expansion into the Chinese market.
Analysts, including Thomas Weisel Partners (founded by Thom Weisel) and Ardour Capital Investments (founded by Kerry Dukes and Brian Greenstein), are keeping a close eye on Plug Power’s ups and downs, particularly with the company slated to announce its fiscal Q4 earnings any day now.
Plug Power, Inc. is a provider of alternative energy technology that focuses on design, development, commercialization, and manufacture of hydrogen fuel cell systems. Their devices use proton exchange membrane, or PEM, fuel cell and fuel processing technology as well as fuel cell/battery hybrids and hydrogen storage and dispensing infrastructure. Their goal is to replace the lead-acid batteries widely used to power vehicles and industrial trucks in North America, particularly those used in distribution and manufacturing. Their product line includes GenDrive, GenFuel, GenCare, ReliOn, and GenKey.
In many ways Plug Power is poised to profit greatly in the current energy environment, with more and more focus on alternative energy sources. However, whereas solar and wind power have proven themselves commercially viable, hydrogen fuel cells still have a ways to go before gaining general acceptance.
Nevertheless, according to preliminary reports, Plug Power secured $280 million in contract bookings for the 2016 fiscal year. If that ends up being their final, official report, it would represent a growth of about 40 percent over the $200 million they secured in 2015.
The company already has many solid clients, including Wal-Mart, BMW, and Home Depot. GenDrive is also being used by new customers such as FM Logistics and Carrefour, a European retailer. And there are plans to expand into the Chinese market this year as well.
Still, the NASDAQ numbers are less than ideal. On March 3, Plug Power traded at an unexpectedly low level with a 0 gain and a closing price of $1.07. Only 2.12 million shares were moved that day—a stark difference from the usual average daily volume of 6.24 million shares per day. Analysts project -$0.06 in EPS on $34.43 million in revenues.
Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh remains optimistic about the company’s overall future, though. “The Plug Power team is making substantial contributions, every day, not just with leadership in fuel cell power for industrial electrical vehicles, but also with hydrogen fueling station and service solutions, which are accelerating mass adoption,” he noted.
Whether or not those advancements will lead to company growth on the market remains to be seen.