Plug Power (PLUG) stock fell as much as 38% on Friday after the hydrogen fuel cell developer posted weaker than expected results and issued a “going concern” notice regarding its potential inability to fund operations over the next year.
The Latham, NY-based company said in a filing published late Thursday it projects that “existing cash and available for sale and equity securities will not be sufficient to fund operations through the next 12 months.”
“These conditions and events raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” read the filing.
Plug Power, which makes fuel cells and devices that produce hydrogen, posted a loss of $0.47 per share for the third quarter, steeper than the $0.30 per share loss expected by Wall Street.
Net revenue for the quarter came in at $198.7 million, shy of the $200.2 million expected by analysts. The company’s net loss in the quarter totaled $283.5 million.
“This was a difficult quarter,” CEO Andy Marsh said in prepared remarks during the company’s earnings call on Thursday.
“Over the past several months, there have been enormous challenges associated with the availability of hydrogen, primarily due to downed plants, including our Tennessee facility, and temporary plant outages across the entire hydrogen network,” he added.
Plug Power’s CFO, Paul Middleton, played down the “going concern” warning and the company’s ability to raise financing during the earnings call.
“The language that we’ve included is oftentimes driven by accounting standards and how you have to evaluate it and manage it,” he said.
“It’s a lot more conservative obviously than what we feel like,” Middleton added. “But I have a $5 billion balance sheet that’s unlevered. I mean, I really don’t have any debt. So, we still are extremely confident about the range of parties and solutions that we’re working with.”
Renewable energy stocks have gotten clobbered this year amid a high interest rate environment.
The Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN), which includes Plug Power as a holding, is down more than 30% year to date.
Plug Power stock was as a retail trader favorite during the “meme stock” craze that broke out during the pandemic. Shares ballooned from about $4 in 2020 to $66 by January 2021.
The stock price has been under pressure over the past year, with short interest on the stock at 26% of the float, a relatively high level. Year-to-date, shares of Plug Power are down over 70%.
Analysts at JPMorgan, Oppenheimer, and RBC Capital all downgraded the stock and lowered their price targets following Thursday’s results.
“While we believe Plug Power can cycle past its current cash flow issues, the current operating and capital markets environments are challenging,” JPMorgan’s Bill Peterson wrote in a note to clients. The analyst downgraded the stock to Neutral and lowered his price target to $6 from $10 per share.
Peterson added: “[We] believe PLUG shares are likely to be range bound over the next several quarters until clarity around its balance sheet are sorted out.”
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