Ballard Says It Expects Record Revenue, Rejects Short Seller Report

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Fuel-cell maker Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: BLDP) announced early Monday morning that it expects to report record annual revenues of about $120 million for the fiscal year, along with positive adjusted EBITDA and $60 million in cash, when it reports final results on March 1.

The company also commented on a report last week from short seller Spruce Point Capital indicating a downside of 35% to 70% on the company’s stock. According to Ballard, Spruce Point’s report contained “a number of unsubstantiated forward-looking statements, assumptions and opinions, as well as other statements and assertions that are simply false.”

Ballard CEO Randy MacEwen said:

Nothing we have seen in the short-seller report fundamentally changes our outlook for the business. To the contrary, we note that some of the statements upon which the short-seller bases its argument are demonstrably false, while others amount to little more than what we believe is unduly negative speculation about the obvious and well-disclosed risks and uncertainties of commercializing new technologies in emerging markets.

Spruce Point noted, for example, that the company’s outlook for its future in China is arguable because “it still remains uncertain if China will develop the fuel cell vehicle market beyond an experimental phase.” The short seller also noted that one of Ballard’s Chinese partners — Broad Ocean — is experiencing a cash crunch that may not allow the Chinese firm to make good on purchasing commitment it has made on Ballard’s behalf.

Spruce Point also noted that 75% of Ballard’s shares are primarily owned by retail investors and that insiders own less than 0.5% of the stock. Broad Ocean owns 17 million shares purchased at $1.64 a share and is free to start selling those shares on July 1.

At the time Spruce Point released its report, Ballard shares traded at around $4 a share, before dropping to around $3 on Friday. Shares added nearly 18% in Monday morning trading, changing hands at around $3.55, after reaching an intra-day high of $3.65. The stock’s 52-week range is $1.84 to $5.94. and the 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $5.50 from 5 analysts.