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Why Plug Power Stock Dropped 10% This Morning

By Rich Smith - Updated Mar 5, 2020 at 12:45PM

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Losses are no worse than feared, sales not quite as good as hoped.

What happened

Shares of fuel cell pioneer Plug Power (PLUG 2.02%) dropped more than 10% in morning trading Thursday, before recovering to a loss of only 5.5% as of 1:10 p.m. EST.

Plug Power reported its fiscal Q4 and full-year earnings (or rather, losses) this morning.

Losses came in at the expected $0.06 per share (pro forma). Sales were a bit less than expected at $91.7 million.

Single hydrogen fuel cell

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Losses were a little bit worse when calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). For the quarter, Plug lost $0.07 per share (better than the $0.08 per share lost in last year's Q4, but mainly because of massive stock dilution). For the year, Plug lost the same $0.36 per share in 2019 as it had in 2018 -- but the loss was actually a bit worse, because stock dilution divided total net losses among more shares outstanding.

Sales for the quarter climbed 53% year over year. For the full year, Plug booked $230.2 million in sales -- up 32% year over year.

Now what

Despite the fact that significant and impressive sales growth didn't result in any improvement at all in bottom-line profits, Plug boasted that it achieved a "milestone breakthrough year" because it reported "positive adjusted" earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

However, management didn't say it would repeat that feat this year, shifting its focus instead to "gross billings" when giving guidance for 2020. Plug promised to "achieve $300 million in gross billings in 2020," saying this would represent "25% gross billings growth year over year."

Looking farther ahead, Plug promised to target "$1 billion of annual gross billings" by 2024, predicting that would result in "$200 million of adjusted EBITDA" -- and $170 million of operating income.

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