Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) announced Wednesday that it has purchased fuel cell stack maker ReliOn Inc for $4 million in an all-stock deal. The acquisition will help the Latham, New York-based company diversify its supplier base. Plug Power shares rose 1.34% to $7.58 in early trading session on Thursday. The company said it will retain the existing employees of ReliOn.

Plug Power Corp PLUG FCEL
Plug Power Corp

Plug Power reduces its dependence on Ballard Power Systems

The deal will also help Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) expand its business into the stationary back-up fuel cell market. It plans to combine ReliOn’s technology with its GenDrive fuel cell systems. GenDrive is a hydrogen powered proton exchange system that provides power to the material handling vehicles. Currently, Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:BLDP) (TSE:BLD) is the only supplier of fuel cell stacks for Plug Power. Shares of Ballard Power Systems plunged as much as 7.68% on Thursday.

Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) expects the purchase to add to its earnings in 2015. The company aims to become profitable by the fourth quarter of this year. ReliOn will also bring in 34 U.S. fuel cell patents to Plug Power. The Latham-headquartered company currently has more than 150 patented related to the fuel cell system design, fuel cell stack design, fuel dispensing, fuel processing and energy storage.

Plug Power up 4197% over the past 12 months

Spokane, Washington-based ReliOn boasts of an impressive customer list including AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S). In February, Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) received an order from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) to supply 1,700 fuel cell systems.

Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) shares have skyrocketed more than 4197% over the past 12 months. The stock has seen massive ups and downs over the past few weeks. Shares rose to $11.53 on March 11, but plunged about 50% on March 12 when Citron Research said that the stock is actually worth 50 cents. But its shares rose again about 25% on March 13 when the company reported better than expected fourth quarter revenues. Shares are still trading far below their all-time high of $1,510 set in March 2000.