Why Plug Power’s Earnings, Revenue Miss May Not Be So Bad

Print Email

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) reported first-quarter 2017 results before markets opened Tuesday. The fuel cell maker reported quarterly diluted net loss per share of $0.13 and revenues of $15.2 million. In the same period a year ago, Plug Power reported a loss per share of $0.07 on revenues of $15.3 million. First-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for a net loss per share of $0.07 and $24.9 million in revenues.

The company’s big moment so far this year did not come until early April when it signed a deal to supply Amazon.com with GenKey solutions. Plug Power expects to realize $70 million in revenues from the deal in 2017 and sees a total value of up to $600 million in the long term.

Gross margins for the first quarter were negative 29.4% compared with a positive margin of 1.1% in the first quarter of 2016. The company attributed the decline to a revenue mix less weighted on product sales and more heavily weighted toward recurring streams that have lower margin profiles now because they are relatively new.

In their letter to shareholders, CEO Andrew Marsh and CFO Paul Middleton said:

After considering our year-to-date performance and expected results for the remainder of the year, we are reiterating our full-year 2017 guidance metrics. We have good visibility with our current order book and backlog to support our activities for the rest of the year and are focused on further enhancing our performance as the year progresses.

The company forecasts full-year revenues of $130 million and gross margins of 8% to 12%. Plug Power expects to book $325 million in new orders during the year and to use $25 million to $35 million of net cash in operating and investing activities.

Plug Power expects to book about 65% of annual revenues in the second half of the year. For the year the company expects to install 25 sites, of which just two were built in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Plug Power expects to build four new sites and to add 12 more in the third quarter and seven in the fourth quarter.

The big miss on earnings and revenues sent investors fleeing in Tuesday’s premarket session. The stock was down about 11% to $2.01, in a 52-week range of $0.83 to $2.70. The consensus 12-month price target is $3.00.