Plug Power Inc. Earnings: What to Expect Thursday

The fuel-cell industry has been on fire recently, but can Plug Power finally deliver strong results? Find out here.

Mar 12, 2014 at 11:03AM

Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) will release its quarterly report on Thursday, and the fuel-cell company has been at the center of a huge debate recently. Bullish investors have pointed to recent deals that Plug has made, lifting both its shares and those of fuel-cell peers Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ:BLDP) and FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL). But skeptics argue that the company still isn't profitable and faces significant challenges to reach its full potential.

The idea of hydrogen-powered fuel cells has been around for years, and longtime Plug Power investors have seen their share of past booms and busts in the stock price. Since 2000, though, the prevailing trend for the stock has been down, as promising developments have always been followed by disappointments. With the new opportunity to work with Wal-Mart to use more of its mobile fuel-cell systems to help power some of the retailer's distribution centers, can Plug Power finally give investors what they've waited to see for so long? Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Plug Power over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its report.

Source: Plug Power.

Stats on Plug Power

Analyst EPS Estimate


Year-Ago EPS


Revenue Estimate

$7.45 million

Change From Year-Ago Revenue


Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters


Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Can Plug Power earnings climb into the black?
In recent months, analysts have had mixed views on Plug Power earnings, widening their fourth-quarter loss estimates by a penny per share but narrowing full-year 2014 loss projections by $0.06 per share. The stock has been on fire, soaring 375% since early December.

Plug Power's third-quarter results show some of the frustration that investors have had with the fuel-cell company in the past. Despite highlighting a rising trend in order bookings, Plug's revenue fell 4% from the year-ago quarter, and the number of units shipped dropped by 17% to 155 units. Net loss grew by 55% in overall terms, although loss per share narrowed to $0.19 on a diluted basis due largely to issuance of stock and warrants.

Yet since then, Plug Power has delivered an onslaught of encouraging predictions and business wins. In December, the company said it expected orders for the fourth quarter to rise to $30 million to $40 million. A month later, Plug Power not only confirmed those expectations but extended them to what it saw as even larger order activity for the first quarter of 2014.

What has really caught investors' eye about Plug Power are the names of new customers. The company this year started a test program with FedEx to use its fuel cells to roughly double the range of electric delivery trucks, through a $3 million program funded by the Department of Energy. Then earlier this month, Plug Power revealed that Wal-Mart would expand the use of its fuel-cell technology, tripling the number of distribution centers using Plug Power products to nine. That lifted shares of Plug Power and partner Ballard Power Systems, which is a key supplier for Plug. FuelCell Energy stock also jumped on general optimism about fuel-cell technology, even though FuelCell Energy's systems aren't directly competitive with those of Plug Power and Ballard because they use different technology.

Just yesterday, though, Plug Power got a more skeptical assessment from Citron Research. Pointing to the stock's long-term decay and a history of unrealized potential, Citron concluded that the latest share-price surge will only lead to one more disappointment for investors. Yet with Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh having said at a recent conference that supermarket chain Kroger will be its next large customer after Wal-Mart, bullish investors still have reason to be optimistic.

In the Plug Power earnings report, investors need to do one simple thing: look to see whether the company's positive statements actually show up in its financial results. If rising order volume actually translates to growing revenue and eventual profitability for Plug Power, then the recent share-price gains could be justified. If not, Plug Power could see its stock fall further after yesterday's declines.

Don't follow the crowd
Let's face it, every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big. Like buying PC-maker Dell in the late 1980s, before the consumer computing boom. Or purchasing stock in e-commerce pioneer in the late 1990s, when it was nothing more than an upstart online bookstore. The problem is, most investors don't understand the key to investing in hyper-growth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure-play" and then watch as it grows in EXPLOSIVE lockstep with its industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 TRILLION industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report.

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

Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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 Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers