A Great Year for Westport Innovations

As 2011 comes to a close, it's a great time to look back at what happened to the stocks that interest you. By making sure you know the important things that a company accomplished -- as well as the setbacks it experienced -- you can make a better decision about whether it's a smart investment for your portfolio.

Today, let's take a look at Westport Innovations (Nasdaq: WPRT  ) . The company is in the forefront of alternative energy because of its natural-gas burning engines, which produce reduced emissions and herald the possible future of increased use of natural gas over diesel and gasoline engines. That has a lot of investors interested in the future of this innovative company.

Stats on Westport

Year-to-Date Stock Return 55.1%
Market Cap $1.42 billion
Revenue, Trailing 12 Months $207.7 million
1-Year Revenue Growth 44%
1-Year Profit Growth NM (loss of $60.5 million over past 12 months)
CAPS Rating (out of 5) *****

Source: S&P Capital IQ. NM = not meaningful.

What happened to Westport this year?
Westport is a small company, but it's made a lot of progress this year. The company has had a long-standing partnership with engine giant Cummins (NYSE: CMI  ) , and that relationship has borne fruit recently, with revenues for the joint venture rising almost 60% in the most recent quarter.

But Westport has seen some exciting new initiatives take root this year. Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) made an agreement with Westport to incorporate Westport technology into large heavy-duty engines. Meanwhile, General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) wants Westport to help design engines for lighter-duty vehicles, while Ford (NYSE: F  ) is working with Westport on a gasoline/natural-gas bi-fuel truck.

Also, the company joined up with Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A  ) to form a co-marketing program. Combined with natural-gas fueling stations at Shell's Flying J truck stops, Westport and Shell could create an integrated natural-gas solution for truckers that could potentially rival the efforts of Clean Energy Fuels (Nasdaq: CLNE  ) .

The biggest problem for Westport is that its losses have continued to widen. But shareholders are still optimistic, and with the huge interest in natural gas -- especially in the U.S. -- Westport appears to have a strong position to capitalize on whatever the future brings. With oil prices still near triple digits, natural gas looks like a smart alternative.

Westport isn't the only stock that could benefit from high oil prices, though. Learn more about three other stocks that will prosper from $100 oil in the Motley Fool's latest special free report on energy. It's yours free, but only for a limited time, so take a look today.

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

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of General Motors, Ford, Westport Innovations, and Cummins. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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