Has Capstone Turbine Finally Turned It Around?

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 Capstone Turbine (Nasdaq: CPST  ) . The company has been at the forefront of the microturbine business for years, as it tries to offer another energy alternative to grid-based electricity production. But historically, Capstone has struggled to become profitable. Below, I'll take a closer look at the events that moved Capstone Turbine's shares this year.

Stats on Capstone Turbine

Year-to-Date Stock Return 12.2%
Market Cap $281 million
Total Revenue, Trailing 12 Months $98.7 million
Net Loss, Trailing 12 Months ($38.6 million)
1-Year Revenue Growth 46.7%
Cash / Debt $20.3 million / $12.4 million
CAPS Rating (out of 5) ***

Sources: S&P Capital IQ, Motley Fool CAPS.

How did Capstone Turbine do this year?
Capstone Turbine makes microturbines that generate electricity independently of the power grid. With an increasing focus on alternative energy lately, Capstone seems well positioned to take advantage of investor interest in the area.

Off-grid power has come quite in handy for certain applications, especially oil and gas drilling sites where power isn't always readily available. For instance, Capstone identified the Eagle Ford shale play as a potential source of growth for the company. With players ranging from giants Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) and EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG  ) to smaller companies such as Magnum Hunter Resources (NYSE: MHR  ) and SM Energy (NYSE: SM  ) , the Eagle Ford has plenty of potential to drive supporting companies like Capstone higher.

This year actually marked a milestone for Capstone: It made money in its most recent quarter. Granted, $1.3 million in a quarter isn't huge, but it could represent a true turning point in what has been a long series of struggles for the company to become profitable. Yet with General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) , Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) , and other large competitors poised to take advantage of any opportunities they can, Capstone will still have to work hard to make the most of its position.

Capstone has some interesting technology, but when it comes to energy, there's really just one stock you need. Read The Motley Fool's latest special report and find out about the energy stock that could soar the next time oil spikes upward. It's free but only available for a limited time, so click here now.

Click here to add Capstone Turbine 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. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chesapeake Energy. 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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  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2011, at 1:04 PM, mjtrac wrote:

    Investors who hear that Capstone made money last quarter will be disappointed if they invest in the stock for that reason -- the company is not yet profitable.

    But the company's five year management has been doing incredible work to build its capabilities and prove its reliability, and it will be profitable in a year or two. The revenue growth is impressive and just the beginning, many different markets have been seeded, next generation products will be available in a year or two (or sooner?), and tax credits are moving into place in some markets.

    Not only that, investors can actually feel good about having their money working to clean up the environment.

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