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Capstone Squeezing Blood from a Turbine (CPST, AMAT)

Microturbine maker Capstone Turbine Corporation (NASDAQ:CPST) has announced that it will eliminate an additional 22 professional positions as it continues to reduce expenses. Capstone fired 19 employees in February and canceled 16 open positions. The company said it will now employ 212 people, compared with 216 one year ago. Capstone’s microturbines are used in the construction of combined heat and power generation plants and hybrid electric vehicles.

The company also said that preliminary results for its 2009 fourth quarter show a reduction in cash used to $4.9 million, compared with $21.6 million of cash used in the third quarter. Capstone noted that it had recently opened a $10 million line of credit with Wells Fargo Bank, and that its cash balance at the end of March was about $19.5 million and that $3.7 million was outstanding on the line of credit.

This hasn’t been a good week for alternative energy companies. Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) has announced that an order for its thin-film solar production equipment originally worth $1.9 billion had been reduced by the buyer to $250 million. Applied also said that has not yet “recognized any orders” in connection with either the original or the amended deal.

Capstone shares are actually up a nickel in pre-open trading this morning after closing at $0.75 yesterday. The 52-week range is $0.39-$4.42. Applied is down $0.10 in pre-market trading, to $10.45. Its 52-week range is $7.80-$20.90.

Paul Ausick
April 8, 2009