Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) isn’t typically in headlines, except as a cautionary tale about investing in alternative energy. The manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cells once traded in the $1,500 range but PLUG stock collapsed to the point where it is a penny stock.
However, Plug made headlines starting on Wednesday — albeit self-generated headlines — with a rare bit of good news. By the time the markets closed on Thursday, PLUG stock price had climbed 3.74% on the day and continued to move in a positive direction in pre-market trading.
Plug Power Stock Gets Boost From News of Record Quarter
Plug stock took a big hit in May when the company reported Q1 earnings that missed Wall Street estimates, with losses of 15 cents per share. The company is getting ahead of the earnings story this time. Although it’s not expected to report its Q2 earnings until August 8, on Wednesday, Plug put out a press release saying it is on track for a record Q2, stating:
“In the second quarter 2019, Plug Power is on track to deploy approximately 2,000 fuel cell units to a variety of new customers and for expansions of many existing customer programs. The deployment volumes equate to an approximately 70 percent increase from the prior year second quarter.”
The company also states that it remains on target to meet its full year guidance of $235 to $245 million in gross billings — despite the disappointing revenue miss in Q1.
The move appears to have worked. PLUG stock gained 9 cents on Wednesday after the press release hit, and a further 8 cents on Thursday.
Continuing a Year of Growth for PLUG Stock
The failure of hydrogen fuel cells to replace traditional batteries as electric cars gained in popularity walloped PLUG stock, and it’s made it things tough for other companies in that market including Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ:BLDP).
PLUG stock price began a recovery after hitting all-time lows of 94 cents in early 2017. The company announced a contract to provide hydrogen fuel cells to the United States Postal Service. In April of last year, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced it would buy up to 23% of the company’s shares, and would begin using Plug Power fuel cells for forklifts in 11 of its warehouses. AMZN was expected to spend $70 million in 2017 and double that in 2018. That news alone was enough to cause PLUG stock to skyrocket by 73% with high volume as investors honed in on the action.
The company still closed out 2018 down 44% on the year, as losses continued and profit remained elusive.
However, Plug Power stock has pieced together a solid run so far in 2019, after a precipitous drop last year saw it collapse from $1.75 at the end of November, to as low as $1.01 before Christmas. The losses continue — and that disappointing Q1 was a setback for PLUG stock — but there has been a steady stream of positive news for the company.
In April, Fedex (NYSE:FDX) decided to adopt Plug Power fuel cell technology in some of its airport ground support equipment. In May, the company announced a partnership that will see 100 electric vehicles equipped with Plug Power hydrogen fuel cell engines join the DHL delivery fleet in 2020. In June, it announced the acquisition of EnergyOr, gaining access to the market for hydrogen fuel cell technology in robotics and UAVs.
Then there was Wednesday’s announcement of the record Q2 expected in August. Media is also starting to connect dots, which is working in Plug Power’s favor — at least in terms of visibility and positive news.
Yesterday, the Albany Business Review published an article suggesting that a new law passed the previous week by New York state could be a big win for Plug Power. Forcing companies to transition to carbon neutral renewable energy sources for electric power by 2040 means a big opening for hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Asked to comment, Plug Power’s CEO noted “Anything that drives reduction in greenhouse gas in the transportation sector is good for Plug.” He also predicted the New York plan could create a $10 billion market for hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
With Plug Power targeting $235 to $245 million in gross billings for the year, a $10 billion market in its home state would be a big prize. The question is whether and when the company will be able to leverage all of these opportunities and turn them into profitability.
Investors are growing impatient. But for now, the overall PLUG stock trajectory for 2019 has been upward.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.