Plug Power Inc (PLUG) Earnings Preview: Big Gains Expected

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Plug Power Inc NASDAQ:PLUG is scheduled to release its next earnings report tomorrow morning, and investors are expecting the company to post revenue that more than doubled year over year. Analysts are expecting to see losses of 4 cents per share and $16.73 million in revenue for the second quarter. That’s compared to losses of 10 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.

Concerns about Plug Power

Shares of Plug Power Inc NASDAQ:PLUG have had a bumpy ride since about March. The stock set a record intraday high of near $12 a share on March 11. Since then, investors have gotten increasingly concerned about some red flags. According to a report from Investor’s Business Daily, fuel cell makers have been struggling to compete with natural gas, which is less expensive. In the U.S., fracking has increased dramatically, making natural gas quite abundant.

The main reason shares of Plug Power have been so volatile in recent months is because of news surrounding the company’s new orders. A number of major companies like Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. NYSE:WMT have placed orders for the company’s GenKey forklift system. The announcement about Wall-Mart’s last order on July 29 sent shares 11% higher. However, Plug Power missed consensus estimates in the last quarter, and with all the question marks surrounding sales opportunities, investors are waiting anxiously for tomorrow’s earnings report.

Is a short squeeze in Plug Power’s future?

Seeking Alpha contributor ONeil Trader thinks it’s possible that the report will kick off a short squeeze on Plug Power Inc NASDAQ:PLUG. Short interest in the company has surged recently, hitting new highs. The latest estimate suggests that 25% of the float, or 37.7 million shares, in Plug Power shares is sold short. The writer thinks that the fuel cell maker is likely to beat revenue estimates and that the focus on earnings will be less this time around. He notes that tomorrow’s earnings report will be crucial because it will suggest whether the company is really going to be able to ramp up deliveries meaningfully.

He does think it’s possible, however, as supplier Ballard Power Systems, Inc. NASDAQ:BLDP did report strong growth in material handling in the second quarter. He thinks this means that Plug Power is seeing solid demand for its fuel cell systems.

What to expect in Plug Power’s earnings report

The fuel cell system provider expected to ship about 650 of its GenDrive systems to several customers in the second quarter, but he thinks that estimate is conservative. He’s predicting between 700 and 750 units. In bookings, Plug Power Inc NASDAQ:PLUG expects $150 million for the full year, and management guided at the end of the last quarter for two-thirds of those bookings to be in by the end of the June quarter. This would mean that if the company is short of $100 million in bookings, Wall Street will be very disappointed. The Seeking Alpha contributor expects bookings of between $105 million and $115 million and a possible increase in full year guidance by between $10 million and $15 million.

He’s also looking for an increase in full year guidance, which is currently at around $70 million.

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