Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) stock has rallied a whopping 1286% in the last 12 months. Among several factors, increasing attention to the alternative energy has been a key factor fueling this rally. The fuel cell company has never earned a profit since going public about 15 years ago. However, Plug Power aims to become profitable (finally) by the end of this year.
Plug Power to double its sales staff this year
The Latham, New York-based company is cutting costs wherever possible, and is improving efficiencies. Material handlers find renewable energy a cost-effective and efficient alternative. That should attract a large number of customers to Plug Power. In fact, the company is already witnessing that. Its bookings in the first quarter of this year surpassed $80 million, twice the booking in 2013.
Of course, the hysteria around renewable energy has led to overvaluation of the stock. The company is currently trading at 13x its book value, about 30x sales, and 200x estimated earnings for 2015. However, the real focus is on the future of the company rather than its current state. Plug Power’s GenKey is penetrating deeper into the material handling business. The fuel cell company forecasts to deliver 650 GenKey units in the June quarter.
Plug Power has signed eight GenKey deals, including the one with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) to supply 1,700 units. As of April, the company has built a backlog of 3,200 units. Meanwhile, the company is doubling its sales staff to get more deals and improve bookings. GenFuel is also an interesting development. Plug Power believes that hydrogen infrastructure is the place to drive growth of its GenKey business and hydrogen refueling stations.
Foray into Asia could be a turning point for Plug Power
The fuel cell company is also making a push into international markets. European fuel cell market is estimated to be worth $18 billion by 2015. Plug Power has joined hands with HyPulsion to cater to European markets. The company is advancing into Asia through its joint venture with Hyundai Hysco. Its foray into Asian markets could transform Plug Power’s fate as Asia is expected to become a large buyer of fuel cells in coming years.
Besides Asia, future demand is likely to come from applications outside material handling such as household power, telecom, and backup power for industrial purposes.
Plug Power shares inched up 0.68% to $4.55 at 12:33 PM EDT on Monday.