Plug Power’s stock may have gone down more than 55% in the last 12 months, but its workforce increased by 50% last year. Aggressive hiring indicates that the fuel cell company’s business is improving. According to Larry Rulison of Albany Times Union, the total number of employees at Plug Power rose by 112 to 326 workers at the end of 2014, up more than 50% from the previous year.
Most of the recent hires are spread out across the country
About 25 of them were from the $4 million acquisition of ReliOn in April 2014. Plug Power bought the fuel cell stack maker to diversify its supplier base. Plug Power had 214 employees at the end of 2013 and 156 workers in December 2012. Most of the new hires were spread out across the country, says Rulison.
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Earlier this week, FBR Capital analyst Aditya Satghare slashed his price objective on Plug Power from $8 to $6.50, though he reiterated a Buy rating. The research firm expects the Latham-based company to report higher operating expenses for the next two years. It prompted FBR Capital to cut the price target to reflect lower profitability between 2015 and 2017.
2015 is a transformational year for Plug Power
Satghare said that the company’s strong order momentum with existing and potential customers will increase Plug Power’s profitability in 2016 and beyond. FBR Capital said 2015 will be a transformational year for the fuel cell company as it continues to modify its service network, and enhance its hydrogen infrastructure build-out. It will also benefit from the falling raw material prices.
However, Plug Power continues to incur losses. Last week, the company reported 8 cents a share in Q4 loss on revenues of $21.5 million. Its revenues were below the Wall Street consensus estimate of $26.3 million. But Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh offered a positive outlook for the current year. He reiterated the $100 million sales guidance for FY2015. He said the company will focus this year on expanding the availability of hydrogen, which would drive growth in core markets.
Plug Power shares fell 1.14% to $2.60 in pre-market trading Thursday.