Why Plug Power Stock Went From Red to Green Today


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Shares of hydrogen fuel cell company Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG) fell more than 10% in early trading on Friday before turning around, erasing its losses, and even notching a 1.7% gain by 11:40 a.m., after “missing” on both sales and earnings in its 2023 earnings report this morning.

Heading into the quarter, analysts weren’t overly optimistic, expecting Plug to report a loss of $1.62 per share on $900.3 million in sales — but Plug managed to disappoint investors on both counts. Sales for the year came up short at $891 million, while losses were worse than expected — $2.30 per share.

Plug Power’s earnings report

For a stock that sells for only about $3.40 or so a share itself, this is not a good look. Also not a good look: The Plug Power earnings press release that announced the 2023 results came in an unusual form, lacking a lot of the detail usually included in such releases and — most notably — lacking the usual financial statements giving a detailed picture of how well (or poorly) a company is doing. (Admittedly, some of these statements were included in yesterday’s 10-K filing with the SEC).

In today’s report, Plug told us that in 2023, it opened a Georgia hydrogen plant — “the largest PEM electrolyzer system in the United States”; expanded sales of fuel-cell-powered forklifts to customers such as Walmart, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Amazon, and Tyson; and posted “record” annual revenue of $891 million, up 27% from 2022. It also told us that its losses per share increased 84% to $2.30 per share, and “acknowledge[d] challenges encountered in cash management.”

However, Plug gave no specifics on its performance in Q4 in particular. Did Plug, for example, hit Wall Street’s goal of at least maintaining sales in Q4 and maybe even growing them slightly? We don’t know. Was its quarterly loss better or worse than expected? Plug didn’t tell us that, either.

Nor did management give any guidance on what sales or earnings might look like in 2024.

Is Plug Power stock a sell?

And yet, Plug did have some positive news to report on one point in particular: “Plug has resolved the going concern issue as previously disclosed in the Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2023, and has concluded that there is no longer substantial doubt of the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

In a press release devoid of a lot of details, I suspect it’s this single line that is responsible for Plug stock erasing its early losses and turning green as we approach the noonday mark. That being said, I wouldn’t put a whole lot of faith in Plug’s assertion that all’s well now, everything’s fine, and the company actually isn’t going out of business anymore.

From yesterday’s 10-K filing, after all, we know that Plug had only about $350 million in cash at the end of 2023 — against nearly $965 million in current liabilities. We also know that Plug is burning through about $1.8 billion in cash annually — roughly three times the burn rate Plug had in 2021.

Unless something changes soon for Plug, I still see the company running out of cash in very short order — and I’m not confident in Plug Power’s ability to continue as a going concern.

Should you invest $1,000 in Plug Power right now?

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John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon, Home Depot, and Walmart. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Why Plug Power Stock Went From Red to Green Today was originally published by The Motley Fool



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