Does the Amazon Deal Really Change the Game for Plug Power?

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Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) watched its shares absolutely explode on Wednesday after a new collaboration with Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was announced. Although Plug Power has been relatively weak in recent years, this deal looks like it could be a real game changer for this hydrogen fuel cell producer.

In the past few years, Plug’s stock has stayed within the range of $1 to $7, mostly sinking during this time. However, the stock was over the $20 mark back in 2008. On the other hand, this collaboration helped push Amazon stock to an all-time high in Wednesday’s session.

Back to the deal: Plug Power and Amazon announced that they had reached an agreement for Amazon to use Plug Power fuel cells and hydrogen technology in its fulfillment network. At select fulfillment center locations, Amazon will begin powering its industrial equipment, such as forklifts, using the GenKey technology, which will enable faster charging times, reduce costs and support energy-efficiency in Amazon’s fulfillment operations. Revenues associated with the commercial agreements are expected to be around $70 million in 2017.

Apart from the deal to use Plug Power’s technology in the fulfillment network, Amazon and Plug Power will begin working together on technology collaboration, exploring the expansion of applications for Plug Power’s line of ProGen fuel cell engines.

Despite having an average trading volume of roughly 6.5 million daily, Plug Power actually does not have much of an analyst following. However, a few analysts weighed in on the stock prior to the deal.

Rodman & Renshaw reiterated a Buy rating with a $3 price target on March 10, pointing to the company’s backlog and upside with China. The firm commented:

We continue to believe that the lapsing of the ITC should have only a marginal impact on the company’s margins in the near term, and have relatively no impact in the longer-term adoption of Plug’s fuel cell offerings. The company is set to deliver healthy revenue growth (we are projecting 64.7% YoY growth) in 2017, despite the ITC sunset, while substantially improving gross margins (we are projecting 14.5% gross margin for 2017, compared to 4.6% in 2016, all supported by a blue chip international customer base.

Craig-Hallum reiterated a Buy rating with a $2 price target on March 9. The firm detailed in its report:

We think that results and guidance are further indication of the favorable deployment trends with new and existing customers. While we think management is taking the right approach given the timing uncertainty associated with China, we note that any contribution from China would provide upside to 2017 guidance and opens up a substantial growth opportunity in 2018 and going forward.

Cowen reiterated an Outperform rating with a $1.75 price target on March 13.

Shares of Plug Power were trading up 64% at $2.13 on Tuesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $2.01 and a 52-week trading range of $0.83 to $2.40.

Amazon shares were up nearly 2% at $923.41. The stock now has a 52-week trading range of $587.50 to $923.72 and a consensus price target of $959.36.