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Scotland, about 700 years ago: Subjected to oppressive rule, outnumbered Scots struggle for independence against King Edward I under the leadership of William "Braveheart" Wallace.
California, today: Feeling helpless against the rapid warming of the planet, people everywhere long for an answer to global climate change, and a small manufacturer of low-emission microturbines finds itself engaged in another lopsided struggle.
Not every company really lives
When fighting the English, Scotland faced staggering odds. Capstone Turbine (Nasdaq: CPST ) appears to be facing an equally insurmountable adversary in its fight against pollution: its own cost structure. Its microturbines sell for less than it costs Capstone to build them.
For its most recent quarter, net losses were $10 million -- $0.06 per share -- on $11.5 million in sales, which increased by almost 25% over the same period last year.
As hopeless as the status quo may seem, microturbine technology is inspirational; it represents freedom from the tyranny of CO2-spewing (but more affordable) power generation alternatives. Capstone is the kind of company many want to see succeed, and it has friends.
Unite the clans
Scotland had help from the Irish, and Capstone counts on United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) to cover its back. The latter's UTC Power division uses Capstone's microturbines in its PureComfort cooling, heating, and power systems, and it recently awarded Capstone with its coveted Gold Supplier Award. Capstone also recently secured a $10 million credit line with Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) .
Aside from its strategic partnerships, Capstone has lobbyists on Capitol Hill vying for lawmakers' attention, and management reports that its political advisers are optimistic about microturbine solutions' role in new clean-energy programs.
In fact, you can think of the Obama Administration as Capstone's Robert the Bruce, with a chance to rewrite history. Now more than ever, Washington has the power either to come to Capstone's rescue, or to allow it to fail.
Freeeeeeedommmmmm (from pollution)
Because of its belief that life, peace, and prosperity mean nothing without freedom from pollution, Capstone, like Braveheart, remains undaunted after enduring many profitless quarters over the years.
Loyal shareholders are united behind this cause, and they're betting that leaders won't let this dream die. Its shares, which traded as high as $94 in 2000, now sell for a meager $0.76. If you believe in the dream, now may be the best time ever to monetize your support for Capstone.
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