E Plug Power: Do Sales Justify A Sub-$2 Price Tag?

Plug Power (PLUG) stock is back under $2 a share. In the column, we discuss shipments, sales, and the balance sheet as we head into 2018. We believe shares have faltered because while earnings have eluded the company, sales had kept the stock strong. That said, sales have now begun to show some pain too.

In the most recent quarter, we noted several important trends to be aware of. First, shipments. They were up year-over-year. The company shipped a total of 1,357 GenDrive units, up from 1,204 a year ago. In addition, three GenFuel site were installed as opposed to five last year. What we see as one strength is growth in the positive margin services side of the business. Factoring in the activity over the last year, there are now over 16,600 GenDrive units under service or PPA contracts, up from 11,000 a year ago.

When it comes to earnings, we think it is in these contracts and in the margins on GenDrive units where the company has got to do more work. It is here that the company has a chance to push back toward breakeven. It is our belief however that the company has got to be significantly more aggressive in cutting costs, as the company is burning cash.

As for the top line, total revenue for the quarter was $33.7 million, up just 3.3% year-over-year. Of course, we understand that that the timing of contracts and deals impact what we see quarter-to-quarter. This is why Q3 was super strong. For a company like Plug Power, we should look at annual performance.

On an annual basis, we see revenues did rise 55% over last year to $133 million. However, 2018 sales from management’s viewpoint are going to grow, but at a reduced pace. We say that because management has guided $155 to $180 million for 2018 sales. This is below the growth percentages we saw last year. Just a few weeks ago, the general consensus from analysts was that 2018 revenue growth would be on par with 2017. We suppose the guidance is more realistic. Long-time investors can attest, while past performance is no guarantee of future performance, management historically overpromised and underdelivered.

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Quad 7 Capital is a leading contributor with various financial outlets, and pioneer of the BAD BEAT Investing philosophy. If you like the material and want to see more, scroll to the top of the ...

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